When I woke up Thursday and scanned the Apple rumors circulating around the web, one particular set of headlines caught my attention: The upcoming iPad Pro will have an OLED display and start at $1,499. According to Korea-based The Elec (translation), which has a fairly decent track record for rumors, the 11-inch model will start at around $1,500 and the 12.9-inch model will set you back $1,800.
Some quick math shows that that price is near twice that of the current 11-inch model, which starts at $799. It’s $400 more than the 12.9-inch iPad Pro with a Liquid Retina XDR display. It’s $300 more than a MacBook Air. It’s as much as a 24-inch M1 iMac with an 8-core GPU. And it’s just $100 less than the 27-inch Studio Display. Add a Magic Keyboard and 1TB of storage and you’re into 16-inch MacBook Pro territory.
Granted, Apple isn’t afraid to raise prices. The iPhone SE went from $399 to $429 last year. The 10th-gen iPad is $449, a steep increase over the 9th-gen model’s $329 price tag. The M2 MacBook Air jumped $200 to $1,199. And the iPhone 15 Ultra is expected to carry a $100 premium over the iPhone 14 Pro Max.
But in each of those cases, the price bump was understandable. The iPhone SE got 5G support; the 10th-gen iPad has a completely new design and larger display; the M2 MacBook Air has a larger display, new design, and faster chip. And when it launched the 10th-gen iPad and M2 Air, Apple kept the older models around as a cheaper option.
An OLED iPad Pro that costs $700 more than the current model makes no sense. Apple’s current iPad screens are fantastic, and even the sharpest eyes will be hard-pressed to see a difference with an OLED model. In my review of the 2020 iPad Pro, I had a hard enough time seeing a difference between the mini-LED display and the prior generation’s standard LED—there’s no way an OLED upgrade will be worth $700 over the current model. The current model is already one of the best tablets you can buy–if not the best–but I’m assuming its price keeps sales figures pretty low. Add $700 and they would be anemic.
Even if an OLED iPad is part of a larger redesign and re-positioning of the iPad, I have a hard time believing that Apple would launch an iPad Pro that costs hundreds more than the current model unless it has a much larger screen. And even then, it would have to be something pretty special to justify spending $2,000 or more on it. And besides, Samsung sells an OLED tablet with a 14.6-inch screen for $1,099, so clearly, the display tech isn’t that expensive.
Maybe Apple will release an OLED iPad Pro one day. Maybe it’ll cost more. Maybe it’ll be a new iPad Ultra model with higher-end features and a titanium case. But if you believe it’ll cost $700 more than the current models, I have an Apple Car to sell you. Or one of the current models, which seems cheap by comparison.