Apple recently released the iPad Pro 2024, which includes a version that supports cellular networks. However, IT Home has noticed that Apple has tweaked cellular network support on the iPad Pro 2024. The main change is the removal of support for millimeter-band 5G.

Source: Variety

Millimeter wave 5G: pros and cons

5G cellular networks in the millimeter waveband are currently commercially available mainly in the United States and offer certain bandwidth advantages over the traditional sub-6 GHz band. However, 5G millimeter wave signals have poor penetration and the coverage of a single base station is also small. This makes millimeter wave 5G relatively suitable for crowded places like stadiums, but not suitable for home environments with many signal blockers.

Pros of Millimeter Wave 5G:

1. Increased bandwidth: Millimeter wave 5G provides more bandwidth to accommodate more subscribers.
2. Suitable for small cells: the narrow bandwidth in the millimeter range makes it suitable for use with small cells.
3. Non-line-of-sight coverage: Coverage is not limited to line-of-sight due to possible primary scattered paths.
4. Channel probing: Uses channel probing to account for different types of mmWave frequency loss for optimal 5G network performance.
5. Compact antennas: Many antennas can be packaged in smaller sizes due to the physically smaller size of their antennas.
6. High speeds: Supports multi-Gigabit backhaul up to 400 meters and cellular access up to 200-300 meters.

Disadvantages of Millimeter Wave 5G:

1. Limited signal penetration**: Signals in millimeter wave networks cannot reach as far as those in 5G and LTE or 4G networks below 6 GHz.
2. Sensitivity to weather conditions: Signal strength drops slightly in rain, which affects connection quality, especially at the edge of the millimeter wave base station range.
3. Power consumption: Devices using millimeter frequency can have intensive power consumption, especially when connected to 5G networks.
4. Deployment costs: Deploying mmWave 5G networks is more expensive than deploying networks based on the sub-6 GHz specification due to the need for more base stations.
5. Interference: Millimeter wave radar operation can be affected by interference from nearby power poles, cell towers, and WiFi/cell hotspots.

iPad Pro 2024

iPad Pro and millimeter wave 5G use cases

Given that the iPad Pro’s general usage scenario is indoors, the advantages of supporting millimeter wave frequency bands are naturally not as good as those of the iPhone. In addition, the problem of poor coverage of the millimeter wave bands has led to an insufficient willingness of North American operators to build the corresponding base stations. The result of this is that only a few areas can receive 5G signals in millimeter wave bands.

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End of support for Millimeter Wave 5G

Considering these two backgrounds, it makes sense that the iPad Pro 2024 will drop support for 5G network in the millimeter range. Apple has dropped support for the three 5G millimeter wave bands n258, n260, and n261 on the iPad Pro 2024. In addition to dropping support for 5G millimeter wave, Apple has also fine-tuned support for other cellular networks for the iPad Pro 2024:

  • Regarding 5G signals with frequency band below 6 GHz, it adds support for frequency bands n75 and n76
  • Support for band 46 of the 4G signal TD-LTE standard has been cancelled.

Implications for consumers

Apple’s decision to end support for millimeter wave 5G bandwidth on iPad Pro models from 2024 means the new iPad Pro only supports 5G cellular on sub-6GHz spectrum and LTE on 31 bands. The bottom line for consumers is that they won’t be able to access the ultra-fast speeds and low latency benefits that mmWave technology offers. Although mmWave allows for high wireless speeds, it has limitations such as shorter transmission distances and difficulty passing through obstacles such as glass or trees, making it more suitable for densely populated areas.

Because mmWave deployment is limited, especially outside the US, Apple chose to exclude this feature from new iPad Pro models to focus on wider compatibility and cost-effectiveness. Users in regions where mmWave is not widespread may not see a significant impact, as 5G below 6 GHz provides wider coverage but at slightly slower speeds than mmWave technology.

iPad Pro 2024


Apple’s decision to end millimeter-wave 5G bandwidth support on iPad Pro models starting in 2024 reflects a strategic shift toward optimizing compatibility and cost-effectiveness for consumers worldwide. By removing support for millimeter wave bands n258, n260, and n261, Apple is focusing on improving support for Sub-6GHz frequency bands such as n75 and n76 for 5G signals, while removing support for band 46 of the 4G signal TD-LTE standard. This fix means that the new iPad Pro models will only support 5G cellular in the sub-6 GHz spectrum and LTE in 31 bands.

The implications for consumers are twofold. For one, users won’t have access to the ultra-fast speeds and low-latency benefits that millimeter-wave technology offers. However, because millimeter wave deployment has limitations, especially outside the US, users in regions where this technology is not common may not experience a significant impact. Sub-6 GHz 5G, although slightly slower, provides wider coverage and is better suited to areas with obstacles such as glass or trees.

In conclusion, Apple’s decision to exclude mmWave 5G support from the 2024 iPad Pro models is in line with a global perspective, prioritizing wider network compatibility and providing a more cost-effective approach for users around the world. This patch aims to provide a more balanced and practical 5G experience for users in different regions, focusing on reliability and availability at ultra-high speeds in limited deployment areas. What do you think of Apple’s decision? Let us know in the comments section below

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Apple cancels millimeter wave 5G support on the iPad Pro 2024