When I woke up on Thursday and skimmed through the Apple rumors circulating online, one particular set of headlines caught my attention: the upcoming iPad Pro will have an OLED display and start at $1,499. According to Korean company The Elec (translation), which has a pretty decent track record of rumors, the 11-inch model will cost around $1,500, while the 12.9-inch model will set you back $1,800.
Small calculations show that this price is almost twice as high as the current 11-inch model, which starts at $799. That’s $400 more than the 12.9-inch iPad Pro with Liquid Retina XDR display. That’s $300 more than the MacBook Air. That’s the same as a 24-inch M1 iMac with an 8-core GPU. And that’s just $100 less than the 27-inch Studio Display. Add a Magic Keyboard and 1TB of storage and you’re in 16-inch MacBook Pro territory.
Of course, Apple is not afraid to raise prices. Last year, the iPhone SE dropped from $399 to $429. The 10th generation iPad costs $449, which is significantly more than the $329 price of the 9th generation model. The MacBook Air M2 jumped $200 to $1199. The iPhone 15 Ultra is expected to cost $100 more than the iPhone 14 Pro Max.
But in each of these cases, the rise in prices was understandable. iPhone SE received support for 5G; The 10th generation iPad has an all-new design and larger display; The MacBook Air M2 has a larger display, a new design, and a faster chip. And when Apple released the 10th generation iPad and M2 Air, Apple kept the older models as a cheaper option.
An OLED iPad Pro that costs $700 more than the current model doesn’t make sense. Apple’s current iPad screens are fantastic, and even the sharpest of eyes will have a hard time seeing the difference from an OLED model. In my review of the 2020 iPad Pro, I found it hard enough to see the difference between the mini LED display and the previous generation’s standard LED – there’s no way an OLED upgrade would cost $700 compared to the current model. The current model is already one of the best tablets you can buy, if not the best, but I’m guessing its price makes sales pretty low. Throw in $700 and they’re anemic.
Even if the OLED iPad is part of a larger iPad redesign and repositioning, I find it hard to believe that Apple will release an iPad Pro that will cost hundreds more than the current model unless it has a much larger screen. And even then, it has to be something special to justify spending $2,000 or more on it. Also, Samsung is selling a 14.6-inch OLED tablet for $1,099, so obviously the display technology isn’t the best. What Expensive.
Perhaps Apple will release an OLED iPad Pro someday. Maybe it will cost more. Perhaps it will be a new iPad Ultra model with more advanced features and a titanium case. But if you think it will cost $700 more than current models, I can sell you an Apple Car. Or one of the current models that seems cheap by comparison.