Why a 14-Inch iPad Pro Would Pair Perfectly With iPadOS 16

Less portable, but way, way more useful

  • Rumor has it Apple may launch a 14.1-inch iPad next year.
  • Many iPad users would love a bigger screen.
  • A large-screen iPad pairs perfectly with iPadOS 16’s new multi-window design.
Someone using an iPad to teach drawing to students in a classroom.


A 14-inch iPad Pro might seem ridiculously impractical until you remember Apple used to make a 17-inch MacBook Pro, and it was fantastic. Also: impractical.

A new rumor says that a 14.1-inch iPad Pro will arrive next year, and it's about time. In our minds, the iPad is a slim, portable computer that you can carry just about everywhere. The idea of a giant version that would struggle to fit into many laptop sleeves seems absurd, but for many people who already use the 12.9-inch iPad, a bigger version cannot come soon enough. Especially now that iPadOS 16 is bringing multiple-window support to Apple's tablet.

"I have been an iPad user for years now, and I have to say that I am really excited about the rumors of a 14-inch iPad Pro," writer, teacher, and long-time iPad lover Chris Anderson told Lifewire via email. "I think that this could be a killer computer, especially when combined with iPadOS 16's new windowed multitasking. I think that a bigger screen would be great for productivity and creativity, and I think that the new multitasking features would make the iPad even more versatile."

iPad Jumbotron

There are three iPad sizes: a small iPad mini, the regular 10.5-11-inch iPad/iPad Air/iPad Pro, and the big 12.9-inch Air. The middle-sized original is obviously the Goldilocks model, and the mini is surprisingly handy for such a small screen. But the big Pro is Apple's take on the tablet laptop.

Paired with the Magic Keyboard with trackpad, the big Pro is pretty much a 13-inch MacBook. It's good for video editing, music-making, and writing, with a source window on one side of a split-screen and a text document on the other.

But sometimes, even this isn't enough.

... a bigger screen would be great for productivity and creativity, and I think that the new multitasking features would make the iPad even more versatile.

As for portability, that's not always the most important aspect. If it is, there are smaller iPads. Nobody complains that the 16-inch MacBook Pro is too big. They just buy the 14-inch instead. As an example, many musicians use the 12.9-inch Pro as a permanent part of their rig. It sits on a stand and is used primarily, or exclusively, for making music. In this case, portability is unimportant.

And musicians love the big screen because iPad music revolves around audio unit plugins, which are little app windows hosted inside the main utility app. For iPad-based musicians, the iPad has offered multi-window multitasking for many years. For them, a bigger window would allow them to see more on the screen at once—musicians don't want to be digging for hidden windows in the middle of a performance.

"[Apple needs] to do this for more pro studio use,12.9 is too small for constant use throughout the day for most things," writes iPad-first musician Carnbot on an Audiobus forum participated in by Lifewire.

And there are plenty of other users who might appreciate a bigger screen. Video editors, artists using apps like Procreate, or just folks who use their iPads to watch TV and movies. 

Closeup of someone using the Procreate app on an iPad.



iPadOS 16 will bring multiple window support to the iPad. Right now, you can view two apps simultaneously in Split View, add another via slide-over, and then put various utility windows on top of that—a quick note window or a video playing picture-in-picture.

In iPadOS 16, we'll be able to view up to four windows at once (plus another four if they hook it up to an external display). In the current betas, the implementation is a little weird: windows are automatically rearranged to stack underneath the currently-focused window, rather than being tiled like on a Mac or PC. Even so, a bigger screen offering more space is welcome.

"[A] big iPad would be the perfect device for many people, including me, and would continue to blur the lines between tablet and laptop," wrote Apple rumor-whisperer Mark Gurman on his blog last year.

A large-screen iPad would be a pretty clear signal that Apple considers the iPad a third computer platform, not just a big iPhone, which is what it has been for most of its life. iPadOS 16 not only adds windows but also revamps the underpowered Files app with more pro features and will even allow app makers to create hardware drivers for the device, which is a pretty serious business. The future of the iPad looks pretty good. And also—if this rumor is true—pretty big.

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