Apple's upcoming OLED iPad Pro will start at $1,500, rising to between $1,800 and $2,000 depending on size and configuration, representing a major increase in prices compared to Apple's current equivalents.
If accurate, these price hikes would make the new 11-inch device over 80% more expensive than the existing 11-inch iPad Pro with LED Liquid Retina display, which starts at $799.
Before we get into the new rumored pricing, let’s take a look at the US starting price for each iPad in the lineup today:
There’s a bit of a leap to the biggest iPad Pro today, but in general it’s a pretty clean price gradient that feels generally right to me.
But here’s what it would look like if we assume other iPads stay about the same price and the iPad Pros release at the new rumored price points:
This makes the iPad lineup look kind of absurd. Instead of being just the most expensive iPads in the lineup, this has the Pros priced as if they’re a completely different product line. For consumers, it no longer becomes a question of whether the $200 upgrade from the Air to the 11” Pro is worth it, it’s whether you would be better off buying 3 iPad Airs or a single 11” iPad Pro.
This is a good time to mention that pricing rumors are notoriously sketchy, as you can’t find those in the supply chain, but for the sake of this post let’s assume these numbers are real; what would this mean for the iPad lineup?
Price increases across the board
We know Apple likes to have a nice spread of price points across their mature product lines so that they can accomodate anyone’s budget. The massive jump from the $599 Air to the $1499 Pro is huge, and I would argue incompatible with Apple’s history. One way this chart could make more sense is if all iPads went up in price by a significant amount.
I don’t see this happening, though, as pricing the iPad significantly higher than it is today would be market suicide in my opinon. Maybe new models go up in price by $50-100, but that hardly makes a dent in the price gaps we’re looking at here.
The iPad Air gets more Pro
Maybe Apple fills that $900 gap from the Air to the Pros by making the iPad Air line more like the iPad Pros we have today. Basically, maybe the next iPad Air looks very much like the current M2 11” iPad Pro with dual cameras, Face ID, and a 120Hz display.
To me, this would make a ton of sense, and would also allow Apple to justify a $100 jump in pricing for the Air, and would be a better choice for people who are used to ProMotion on their other Apple devices and want it on their iPad, even if they can’t stomach the huge Pro prices.
Old iPad Pros stick around
Or maybe the current iPad Pros live on in the lineup and these new rumored iPads are “Pro Max” and are the new high end of the iPad lineup. That would give is something like this for the price curve, which looks more reasonable than the massive $900 jump from Air to Pro we’d have with nothing in between them.
The new iPad Pros do more
This might be wish-casting here, but one other way this could go is that these new iPads justify their new price point and power (I’m assuming they’ll be M3 devices) by being notably more functional than the other iPads in the lineup. How do you do that?
Adding a second Thunderbolt port could be a start, but doesn’t get us nearly there in my book. No, this would need to be a software difference, and I think that means running something other than the iPadOS we know and love today. I don’t know if it’s some form of macOS or if it’s something new, but there would be something big that lets these iPads do things that the normal iPad line doesn’t today. I actually proposed exactly this in March 2022 and called it studioOS, which would help differentiate the Pro iPads from the rest of the iPad lineup.
Again, I’m definitely wish-casting here, but hey, I think if these price points are true then they need to justify themselves with more than just a nicer screen, and I think they would go down a lot easier if they were basically Apple’s next generation productivity device, and not just iPads that do the same thing as your $329 iPad.
Also mentioning that maybe the sizes are no longer 11” and 12.9”, if this happens, they could easily change to 13” and 15” models. See also this post about the physical UI size between macOS and iPadOS, which isn’t as big as people may assume.
More comes in the box
One more tweak on this new OS idea could be that the new iPad Pros (Pro Max, Ultra, whatever) come with more accessories standard. How many people buy just an iPad Pro today? Surely some, but that product is really made to be used with a Magic Keyboard and Apple Pencil. Go to Apple's site and order the cheapest iPad Pro with those accessories and you get to $1,227, or $1,447 if you get a cellular iPad. That's a paltry 128GB of storage and you're already nearly to the rumored $1,500 price point.
There are rumors of a Magic Keyboard successor coming this year, and if this thing runs something like macOS, which really benefits from having a keyboard, maybe this model ships with a great keyboard as well.
Or maybe this rumor is totally wrong and this post is all for naught. We'll see pretty soon!