3 iPad Pro improvements better than a thinner chassis


2024 iPad Pro: Thinner isn't always better
There's no reason to slim down iPad Pro when there are better options.
Image: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

The OLED display in the upcoming iPad Pro reportedly will allow the tablet to be more than 20% thinner. Which is … fine. But if the OLED panel takes up that much less room, there are plenty of improvements Apple could make to its top-tier iPad that would enhance usability more than slimming down an already svelte computer.

Perhaps Apple’s 2025 iPad Pro could use the extra space for more battery and more ports.

Why a thinner 2024 iPad Pro?

With organic light-emitting diode displays, each pixel glows on its own. This leads to a bright, even image with strong contrast. It also means the panels don’t need backlights, so OLEDs are lighter and thinner than traditional screens.

Numerous leaks point to the first iPad Pro models using this type of display launching in the coming weeks – March or April. The new screens supposedly will allow Apple to shrink the thickness of the tablet from the 6.4 mm of the 2022 iPad Pro down to 5 mm in the 2024 model. That’s a 22% decrease.

The thing is, 6.4 mm is already very thin. No one picks up an iPad Pro and says, “This is fine but what it really needs is to be thinner.”

But that’s apparently what we’re getting. Which is frustrating when there are more consequential iPad improvements that Apple could make.

1. More iPad battery capacity makes more sense

When the other components of a mobile computer shrink, the traditional response is to keep the device the same size and fill up the extra space with additional battery.

That said, the 2022 iPad Pro already boasts a lengthy battery life — at least 10 hours of regular use. And the cutting-edge Apple M3 processor expected to go into the 2024 model likely will further increase that, even as it improves performance. But no one will complain if the next-gen tablet lasts hours longer without needing a recharge.

And there’s a benefit for some power users, like me. I regularly connect an external screen to my iPad Pro, and powering two displays can drain my tablet in just a few hours. A boost in iPad battery life would be welcome.

2. Add a second USB-C port to the 2024 iPad Pro

2024 iPad Pro concept: Dual USB-C ports
Two USB-C ports are a better option than a slimmer iPad Pro.
Concept: Apple/Cult of Mac

For many people (including myself), an iPad is their primary work computer. That frequently requires connecting accessories to the tablet’s USB-C port.

But even the top-tier iPad Pro only comes with a single USB-C port for use with both accessories and charging. That proves very limiting. Plugging in a USB drive requires unplugging the external screen, for example. Or I can carry a USB-C hub around with me everywhere. (Oh joy.)

Rather than slimming down the OLED iPad Pro, Apple could uses the extra space to build in a couple of USB-C ports, not just one. This small change to the design would noticeably improve the tablet’s usability.

3. Build in the MacBook version of MagSafe

iPad Pro would be improved with the MacBook version of MagSafe.
MagSafe: What’s good for MacBook would be just a good for iPad Pro.
Photo: Apple

If Apple doesn’t want to add a second USB-C port to the 2024 iPad Pro, the MacBook version of the MagSafe connector would be almost as good.

Apple added this to macOS notebooks so that if someone tripped over the power cable, the computer wouldn’t be flung to the floor or have its charging port damaged. These days, people frequently use iPads as notebooks — that’s the whole point of the Magic Keyboard — so the addition of MagSafe seems logical.

What would be even better is MagSafe and two USB-C ports. Surely there would have been enough room if Apple’s slimmer iPad Pro indeed shrinks the tablet’s thickness by more than 20%.

But what makes less sense would be adding the iPhone version of MagSafe. Wireless chargers that use the MagSafe system are designed for iPhone, and many of them are built into stands, or also include Apple Watch chargers, making them unfit for an iPad.

Looking ahead to 2025

Obviously, none of these suggestions can apply to the 2024 iPad Pro if it’s set to launch in March or April. But Apple is always looking far ahead, so surely the 2025 model is on a drawing board somewhere in Cupertino.

Speaking as a hard-core iPad Pro user, I’d be happy if that future tablet was bulkier than the 2024 model to make room for some additional ports or a larger battery.


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