Apple’s Upcoming iPad Pro Could Be Pricier

2024 iPad Pro concept Credit: 2024 iPad Pro concept image (Source: DigitalTechTrends)
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By now, you’ve undoubtedly heard that new iPads are coming next month in an update to the product lineup that could be the biggest in years.

That will be a refreshing change of pace after 2023 came and went with no new iPads. There’s every reason to believe these new models will turn out to have been worth the wait, and that’s especially true for the iPad Pro, which is expected to finally make the switch to OLED and get noticeably slimmer as a result.

Unfortunately, that’s a big change that may also have a price tag to match. Rumors have been swirling for months that Apple plans to increase the starting price of both iPad Pro models, and that wouldn’t be surprising considering that OLED panels cost more than the LCD screens that Apple has been using for the past few years.

It also doesn’t help that, by all reports, Apple isn’t planning to skimp on these displays. The iPad Pro is the company’s flagship tablet, and it needs a display to match; supply chain sources have pointed to hybrid glass/film panels that use stacked tandem OLEDs that could be three times the cost of the ones used in current iPhone models.

How Much Will the iPad Pro Cost?

While the displays almost certainly represent a significant part of the cost of each iPad, they’re still only part of the cost of producing the tablets. Without understanding the total bill of materials, it’s hard to say how much a threefold increase in display component costs will affect Apple’s bottom line.

A little over a year ago, supply chain sources offered the somewhat ludicrous suggestion? that the 11-inch OLED iPad Pro could start at $1,500 while the 12.9-inch model would cost $1,800 and up. Proponents of this theory claimed that the iPad Pro had a loyal enough fan base that its target market would happily pay those prices, but pricing it into entry-level MacBook Pro territory seems like it would be a hard sell.

To put that in perspective, the current 11-inch iPad Pro starts at $799, while the 12.9-inch model goes for $1,099. That already puts the larger tablet at $100 more than the base M2 MacBook Air model.

Nevertheless, some price increase seems inevitable. Those same sources at the time pointed to the OLED panels costing in the $270 to $350 range, a significant increase from the $100 to $150 range of current LCD panels.

More recently, DigiTimes suggested modest price increases that would be more in line with the actual panel costs, working out to around $160 for each model. Apple might do a bit of rounding, putting the 11-inch iPad Pro up to $999 and the 12.9-inch model to $1,299, or it could eat part of those costs to keep the increases down to a more manageable level.

It’s also worth noting that the 12.9-inch iPad Pro already saw a $100–150 price bump across the board when it switched to mini-LED in 2021, undoubtedly due to the higher production costs for that relatively new display technology. Before that, there was only a $200 spread between the 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro.

As such, the gap between mini-LED and OLED costs may not be as significant for the larger model, which means it could see a smaller price increase than the 11-inch model, once again bringing the two closer in price for the first time since 2020.

The M3 chip in the new iPad Air might help Apple justify a $999 asking price, putting it on par with the M2 MacBook Air. There’s also the 12.9-inch iPad Air to consider, which is expected to be powered by an M2 chip. The current iPad Air starts at $599, which means the 12.9-inch model will likely take up the $799 position previously occupied by the 11-inch iPad Pro.

[The information provided in this article has NOT been confirmed by Apple and may be speculation. Provided details may not be factual. Take all rumors, tech or otherwise, with a grain of salt.]

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