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A glass-backed iPad Pro to likely stay a pipe dream for now

If you’ve been dreaming about an iPad Pro getting the same glass back/metal frame design treatment as the iPhones, there’s some bad news for you. A 9to5Mac report that cites insider sources claims that Apple may have pulled the plug on a glass rear panel makeover for its upcoming iPad Pro. What this means is the iPad Pro will continue to be a polished hunk of metal with crazy fast silicon inside.

Last year, Bloomberg reported that Apple was considering a glassy rear panel for the iPad Pro. MyDrivers also shared an alleged render of the 2022 iPad Pro refresh with a glass back earlier this year. The aesthetic overhaul was supposed to happen for both the 11-inch and the 12.9-inch iPad models. Why the sudden change of plans at one of Apple’s famed design studios? As per the report, the fragility of glass is what made Apple have second thoughts about applying it on the iPad Pro’s rear panel.

Apple iPad Pro 2021 model.
iPad Pro (2021) Image used with permission by copyright holder

After all, iPhones with a shattered rear panel aren’t very pleasant to look at or use. And even though the material quality has improved since the iPhone 8 days, it’s still glass. I’ve personally shed a few bitter tears after cracking my iPhone 12 Mini’s rear panel in its very first bumpy encounter with the concrete floor. And with the added heft that comes with a much larger tablet form factor, an iPad Pro with a glass back sounds like risky business. I won’t even dare to imagine the premium of rear panel replacement here.

However, it’s not just the aesthetic sacrifice that hurts. No glass panel means a smooth metal sheet adorning the iPad Pro’s back for yet another year. And that also means no MagSafe or wireless charging. Plus, there’s also a chance that we might see a notch on the pricey Apple tablet.

But wait, there might still be some hope. As per the report, Apple is toying with iPad Pro prototypes with a much larger logo, just like the new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro. This logo is made of glass, instead of being painted-over metal, and Apple is planning to fit the wireless charging MagSafe hardware behind the glass logo. The company is rumored to have fitted stronger magnets than those on the iPhones, and has also boosted the wireless power delivery.

So there’s still hope that an iPad Pro with MagSafe capability might arrive next year, though it may not look nearly as fancy as one with an all-glass rear panel. But these are prototypes we’re talking about here, which means Apple can still put them on ice if the new design proves to be a manufacturing nightmare and jacks up the production costs.

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Nadeem Sarwar
Nadeem is a tech journalist who started reading about cool smartphone tech out of curiosity and soon started writing…
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