The Apple rumor cycle never sleeps. We’ve all known this was the case with the iPhone for years now. However, today, any early Apple report is big news.
The leaker game is more competitive than ever and there is little rest and no such thing as a vacation for these guys. We got our latest example of this a couple of days ago when Mark Gurman of Bloomberg dropped a fresh report on the next iPad Pro less than two weeks after the 2021 version arrived. No rest for the weary.
So, what does one of the most reputable of all Apple leakers have to say about the next iPad Pro? Surprisingly little, to be honest. However, what he does mention could signal a huge change in how future iPad Pro’s are designed and constructed.
First off, Gurman says that next year’s iPad Pro will have a glass back, which would be a huge change. On one hand, this makes some sense, as it would bring the iPad Pro in line with the iPhone lineup, which has made use of glass backs for a few years now. However, that is one gigantic slab of glass we’re talking about to cover an iPad Pro, especially on the 12.9″ model.
While glass may not seem like the most durable material choice, I think we’ve learned that the right kind of glass with the right chemical composition can actually be quite robust. The iPhones 12 have proven to be quite durable in all kinds of drop tests for this very reason. In fact, if we get the same material on next year’s iPad Pro, I think it will actually be more durable than any large Apple tablet since 2017.
I understand that many of the reports surrounding the iPad Pro’s “bendgate” a couple of years ago were a bit overcooked. However, there are still people who have carried their 2018 and 2020 iPad Pros, either without cases, or with very lightweight ones, and ended up with significant warping and slight bending on the back. The fact is, that big of a thin, flat aluminum surface is always going to be susceptible to bending and warping. That’s just the nature of physics.
We haven’t seen Apple use a glass panel this size on the back of a device before, but the iPhone’s back certainly doesn’t struggle with instability. Because of this, I am very interested in seeing if Apple actually goes this route, and if so, is the glass really the kind of improvement that I think it will be.
A glass back also opens up other opportunities for the iPad Pro, which Gurman also referred to in his report. He says that Apple is planning on adding wireless charging to the high-end tablets, which is another big change.
This feature seems like an odd fit as long as it currently takes MagSafe just to charge an iPhone 12 Pro Max. However, if Apple can make magnetic charging work efficiently, it would be great to have the USB-C port freed up for other uses.
What Mark Gurman didn’t mention was anything to do with OLED screens coming to the iPad Pro. The proven screen tech used on recent iPhones coming to the next iPad Pro has been a persistent rumor over the last month.
I’ve personally been skeptical of these OLED rumors simply because Apple just developed and released Mini-LED screens. It would be very unlike them to kill a new technology like this, even a transitional one, after just one year. While Gurman doesn’t specifically say it isn’t happening, the omission does make me feel a little stronger in my opinion.
Apple rumors and leaks can feel like a dime a dozen sometimes. That said, iPad Pro rumors coming this early and talking about design changes this significant aren’t. While I’m just now getting settled in with my brand new 2021 12.9″ iPad Pro, Gurman’s report already has me thinking about next year.