2021 iPad Pro 12.9: a beast whose prowess is lost on me ☹️
3 min read

2021 iPad Pro 12.9: a beast whose prowess is lost on me ☹️

In recent years, I had a realisation about my mindset when it comes to acquiring technology. With every release of an Apple gadget, I am motivated to upgrade because I find that my current devices have issues that have been fixed or features that have been enhanced in the latest iteration of the said product. The fact remains, that I enjoyed using my existing iPhone/iPad until the point that the new one was announced, and I cannot wait to upgrade. This is the mindset I am endeavouring to change. Why do I feel that a new version of the product I have makes my device any less useful?

Perhaps, an example will better illustrate my point. Recently, Apple launched a new Apple TV and with that provided existing customers the option to buy a revised remote that fixed issues with the first design. I know many people complain (rightfully) about the Apple TV remote, and I am one of them. With that said, I was happy to use it for years. If it bothered me so much, I had the option to use a Logitech harmony remote, but I did not. If I am being honest with myself, I have made peace with the Apple TV remote and more importantly, with time, I know how to use it. I have mastered it. My family members also complained at first, but with time have accustomed to the remote. I asked them if they are happy with the remote. The universal response was its alright, it works. My wife said, “so you want to spend another $60 for a remote that essentially does the same thing as your current remote....Why don’t you stop buying all this useless tech stuff and get me a new wedding ring.........?”. I thought, yes the new ring will do things that the old one does not. I have been married long enough to know to keep these thoughts to myself (and share it on MereCivilian.com). Between you and me, her new ring is coming, I have been saving up for it for some time.

2021 iPad Pro

Having the above perspective, I evaluated whether I should upgrade my 2018 12.9 iPad Pro to the shiny new 2021 version.

I based my decision on what I can do (or do better) with the new iPad that my old one does not. Apple provides this useful comparison tool: https://www.apple.com/ipad/compare/

The 2021 iPad has the following new features:

  • M1 chip: provides mind-blowing performance with more cores, more RAM and graphics performance
  • XDR display: best and brightest display with extreme dynamic range.
  • 5G
  • Centre stage: ultra wide camera
  • thunderbolt/USB 4 support
  • 0.11 pounds heavier

The above are meaningful updates and the introduction of M1 chip on the iPad provides a giant leap in performance and future proofing.

I use my iPad Pro for writing, email, task management, researching, journaling, remoting to my Mac Mini server, photo management and YouTube/Netflix videos. Objectively, the new features of the 2021 iPad Pro will not provide material improvements for me. To this very day, I never felt that my 2018 iPad Pro needed more performance or a better display. Thunderbolt support is wonderful, and I have a thunderbolt monitor, but I do not see myself using my iPad instead of my MacBook. If I am plugging a thunderbolt display with other accessories, I may as well use my MacBook.

If I am considering reasons for upgrading, it's only prudent to also consider the reasons not the upgrade:

  • Moving from one iPad to another is relatively easy with iCloud backups. However, additional setup is necessary. This includes logging into services, downloading my huge Devonthink database, setting up Apple Wallet and countless applications which may also require my attention.
  • Finding a second home for my 2018 iPad Pro isn’t easy as most people would prefer a smaller iPad. I also do not want to deal with eBay or other secondary marketplaces.
  • $$$$$$: I find the MacBook Air to be incredible value and has the necessary software to take advantage of the performance of Apple’s most powerful chips while the iPad is limited.
  • The 2021 iPad Pro is a complete mismatch to iPadOS 14. Now, it feels like I am driving a Ferrari with the speed limited at 20 miles per hour (32.19 km/h). The software is just miles behind.

I am excited to see what iPadOS 15 has in store for us, and I am confident numerous software improvements are coming, which may trickle down to my 2018 iPad Pro. Right now, centre stage is the only 2021 iPad Pro exclusive feature. Keeping some features exclusive to new Apple devices is a key Apple strategy in motivating people to upgrade. Thankfully, in this stance, I am not the target audience.

The fun thing about not upgrading is that mentally, I have saved a bucket of money for my next purchase🤔.


A conversation is a food and drink for the soul. If this article has sparked some ideas, or you want to discuss it, please email me at [email protected] or contact me on Twitter @MereCivilian. Please share this article with people whom you think may also find it useful ✌️.