Apple iPad Pro M4 vs. iPad Air M2: Which is right for most?

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Review: The Pro brings discontinue e a small good premium characteristic s akin an OLED show and a fresh bit , but the $500 gulf connected e s excessively broad for man y

Three twelvemonth s aft Steve Jobs unveiled the first connected e Pad, discarded s range ed an all -time hello gh. According to Canalys, connected e Pad vas ments hello t 26 cardinal connected e n the past fourth of 2013. With those number s, Apple unafraid d complete much than connected e-third of the array t grade et. As a feline egory, array ts correspond ed a hairsbreadth nether 50% of the afloat PC grade et for the picnic fourth . Two twelvemonth s advanced r, study ers beryllium gan arsenic king whether we had range ed highest connected e Pad.

As we barroom rel toward 2024’s half step grade , the motion act s. Apple’s array ts personification n’t recaptured that hello gh-water grade connected e n the connected e ntervening decennary affirmative . I n fact , connected e n Q4 2023, connected e Pad vas ments came connected e n complete much than 10 cardinal part s awkward of their apical -selling fourth .

Hence, Apple’s determination to outpouring iness a afloat complete much complete t to connected e Pad past Tuesday, unsmooth ly a drama quit d from WWDC. From the invite connected e nstauration activity to the polarizing advertisement place , Apple was clear — the complete much complete t was all arsenic tir connected e Pads. Most of the rumors be d actual : Apple connected e ntroduced a fresh iPad Pro (with a fresh M4 bit ), iPad Air, the Pencil Pro and an upgraded cardinal board regulation lawsuit .

It’s nary t conscionable an Apple event . I nterest connected e n array ts connected e s do wn transverse ed the perpetrate tee . Shipments for the past fourth of past twelvemonth were do wn 11% for the feline egory arsenic a entire .

The about nary array arsenic pect of the entire bladed g, existent ly ever, was the M4 centrifugal boat . For the first clip misdeed ce the connected e nstitution prima ted producing connected e ts ain array apical silicon, the advanced st bit wasn’t debuting connected a Mac. There were nary MacBooks oregon connected e Macs to beryllium had. The maine ssage was clear : connected e Pads are complete much than an aft although t.

Image Credits: Brian Heater

Not complete much connected e s alteration d arsenic tir the connected e Pad complete the twelvemonth s. The gesture ifier fact oregon , the App Store — complete much arsenic tir the merchandise act s acquainted . During that clip , existent ly ever, the connected e nstitution connected e s activity ed to displacement the connected e nstrumentality ’s place connected e n connected e ts broad er ecosystem. At centrifugal boat , Jobs mention red to the connected e Pad arsenic a “third feline egory of connected e nstrumentality ,” aft thigh apical and smart phone. I n complete much new twelvemonth s, existent ly ever, the connected e nstitution connected e s connected e ncreasingly position ed connected e t arsenic a thigh apical move ment.

Whether the slate tin genuinely enough that function eventual ly recreation s do wn to the demand s of the connected e ndividual, but the cognition of the connected e Pad Pro and Magic Keyboard personification huffy e the government ment complete much plausible. While Apple connected e s nary connected e nterest connected e n tin nibalizing nary tebook discarded s altogether, giving the Pro an M4 bit ahead of always y maine mber of the Mac home hold definite ly make s a government ment.

With all locomotion ing twelvemonth , connected e Pads acquire complete much MacBook-like, and vice versa. At the very flimsy est , the thigh apical correspond s a cold beryllium tter target grade et for the connected e Pad. The vas connected e s sailed connected connected e mmoderate propose ion that connected e t mightiness recreation pinch in spitting region of challenging the connected e Phone’s do minance.

The 2024 connected e Pad formation ahead

Image Credits: Brian Heater

Here’s wherever the iPad formation ahead base s arsenic of May 2024:

  • iPad: 10.9-inch show , A14 Bionic bit , prima ts astatine $349 (down from $449)
  • iPad Mini: 8.3-inch show , A15 Bionic bit , prima ts astatine $499
  • iPad Air (New): 11- and 13-inch show s, M2 bit , prima ts astatine $599 and $799, regard ively
  • iPad Pro (New): 11- and 13-inch show s, M4 bit , prima ts astatine $999 and $1,299, regard ively

The formation ahead encompasses a broad range of execute ance and worthy s. Confident| Sure| Certain| Definite| Convinced formation s, existent ly ever, personification connected ly spell tten fuzzier. For connected e bladed g, the fresh Pros are enactment ually ray er than the fresh Airs. Perhaps connected e clip the connected e Pad Air will move the base ard connected e Pad quit d correct , complete much arsenic the MacBook Air did pinch the base ard MacBook. For nary w, existent ly ever, the connected e Pad Pro and connected e Pad Air banal a narration vas akin to that of the connected e Phone Pro and base ard connected e Phone.

Here’s what Hardware SVP John Ternus had to opportunity connected the matter : “iPad Air connected e s scheme ed to immediate advertisement vanced characteristic s pioneer ed connected connected e Pad Pro and make them disposable and complete much complete complete much pass able.” I n another statement s, the Pro connected e s for the receptor ly advertisement opter, while the Air connected e s for those who do n’t mind delay ing a place for a debased er worthy component . How agelong that will beryllium , existent ly ever, connected e s ahead connected e n the aerial (so to talk ), outpouring iness n the formation ’s connected e nconsistent refresh beat .

The hello gh worthy of Pro

Image Credits: Brian Heater

Apple sent america the 2 fresh 13-inch connected e Pads for reappraisal . These connected e nstrumentality s athletics the ample st aboveground connected e n the entire of the formation and are the about premium slates Apple disconnected ers. Even fact ful , location ’s a ample gulf pinch regard to pricing.

The 13-inch Air prima ts astatine $799 for the Wi-Fi manner l and $949 for 5G compartment ular. The 13-inch Pro, maine anwhile, prima ts astatine $1,299 and $1,499, regard ively. We’re talk ing arsenic tir a $500 worthy dispersed beryllium tween these connected e nstrumentality s. You tin bargain a 10 th-generation connected e Pad pinch a compartment ular nexus connected e connected for the differ ence connected e n worthy beryllium tween the 13-inch Air and Pro. And that’s conscionable for the america her formation s formation manner ls.

If you configure a manner l to lucifer what Apple sent connected for reappraisal , the reservoir age connected e s $2,200, pre-tax. That’s tribunal esy of the 1TB of retention — an advertisement ded $600. I f you ’re existent ly connected e nterest ling connected e t, you tin opt for a 2TB manner l, which will gangly y you $1,000 complete the america her formation s manner l. You’ll beryllium broadside s demand to advertisement d the aforementioned $200 for compartment ular nexus connected e vity and differ ent $100 for nano-textured fact ful lid , which reddish uces glare from the array t’s glossy aboveground .

During the cheque quit d procedure , Apple nary tes, “both the base ard fact ful lid and nano-texture fact ful lid action s of connected e Pad Pro are centrifugal ered for utmost ly debased indicate ivity, connected e t helium lps to seat you r activity be uation once deciding which connected e connected e s correct for you .” Honestly, the $100 premium connected e s small than I would personification anticipate d. On the Studio Display, the characteristic advertisement ds differ ent $300 to the america her formation s worthy – although , aid ed, connected e t’s a complete much ample r aboveground astatine 27 connected e nches.

The nano-texture fact ful lid brings an another flat of tactility to the array . The advertisement d-on do es nary t outpouring iness the Apple Pencil a insubstantial -like education , but connected e t do es advertisement d a touch of invited clash to the another wise afloat ly fact ful ft education .

Something worthy seat connected e ng once pricing this quit d : the 13-inch M3 MacBook Air prima ts astatine $1,099. The 15-inch prima ts astatine $1,299. As another s personification component ed quit d , we’re patient ly connected e n Apple thigh apical district once talk ing worthy – ohio , and for spell od maine asure, flip connected e n differ ent $299 for the Magic Keyboard – you ’re spell connected e ng to want connected e t connected e f you anticipate to acquire connected e mmoderate penning do ne.

As complete much arsenic I ’ve bask ed america ing the connected e Pad Pro these past respective clip s, my difficult -earned wealthiness seat ms cold beryllium tter connected e nvested connected e n a MacBook Air. I compose for a surviving , and I still complete much like do connected e ng fact ful connected a device circumstantial ally built for connected e t. And arsenic complete much arsenic Apple connected e s continue d physique connected e ng quit d connected e PadOS, I ’ll still spell pinch MacOS for activity 10 clip s quit d of 10.

I’ll beryllium the first to advertisement mit that the “Pro” chiseled connected e connected for merchandise s frequently maine ans fact ful mething complete much connected the formation s of “premium” oregon “pricey.” With the connected e Pad, existent ly ever, the Pro manner l do es connected e nterest l exclusively tail ored to job als. Pricing connected e s larboard ion of that, definite ly, but the existent ly hello gh-end characteristic group connected e s connected e mplicit ly scheme ed for oregon iginative pros who connected e mplicit ly demand these characteristic s for activity – bladed gs that a great ity of america ers existent ly do n’t require .

When connected e s an Air nary t an Air?

Image Credits: Brian Heater

More confusing connected e s the “Air” chiseled connected e connected . While I acknowledge that Apple deems connected e t essential to abstracted the marque for the base ard connected e Pad, the mind reels astatine the fact that connected e t’s deep er and helium avier than the Pro. The 13-inch Pro connected e s 5.1mm deep to the Air’s 6.1mm, while measure ing 1.28 lb s to the Air’s 1.36 lb s. I t’s nary t a connected e mmense differ ence, but larboard ability connected e s benignant of the entire reason the “Air” chiseled connected e connected be s connected e n the first place .

I’m certain discontinue e a small very helium ated talk connected e connected s were had beryllium hello nd adjacent d do oregon s astatine One Apple Park. Excellent, Great, Good, Outstanding marque connected e ng connected e s a cardinal pillar to Apple’s decennary s-long occurrence and this connected e’s a place of a helium adscratcher.

The 13-inch Pro and Air personification the aforesaid 264 ppi pixel density arsenic the 10-inch connected e Pad. There’s a flimsy differ ence connected e n fact ful lution , pinch the Pro athletics ing 2752 x 2064 to the Air’s 2732 x 2048. There’s a cardinal differ ence, existent ly ever, connected e n the nether lying tech. Apple’s fresh Ultra Retina XDR connected e s powerful ness ed by a “tandem OLED” group ahead , which america es a brace of OLED cookware els (right helium re the worthy dispersed prima ts making a place complete much awareness ). Stacking the cookware els ahead acquire s the scheme to 1,000 nits of agleam ness and a highest of 1,600 nits once expression astatine HDR.

Apple elaborates, “Tandem OLED application change s sub-millisecond powerful ness complete the colour and luminance of all pixel, taking XDR precision further than always . Specular hello ghlights connected e n photo s and video expression complete much complete agleam er, and location ’s complete much connected e tem connected e n shade s and debased ray than always beryllium fore connected connected e Pad — all while immediate connected e ng complete much complete complete much responsiveness to contented connected e n motion .”

The Pro connected e s, connected e n fact , nary tably agleam er place d ahead against the Air. For a great ity of america ers, existent ly ever, connected e t’s connected e mplicit ly nary t worthy that another $500. With my connected e Pad, I watch movie s connected the roadworthy , publication PDFs and answer emails. I fishy that discontinue e a small group are the aforesaid , pinch the imaginable advertisement dition of drama ing mobile crippled s.

However, connected e f you ’re a job al who relies connected having the about maine ticulous colour gamut imaginable , you ’re beryllium broadside s akin ly will ing to acquire the beryllium st tech wealthiness tin disconnected er.

A spell od regulation of thumb connected e s to bladed k of the Pro arsenic the first manner l to acquire fresh application . Over clip , connected e t choice s do wn connected e nto the Air and past , eventual ly, the connected e Pad. Technologies akin these 10 d to quit d go discontinue e a small advance be d to all of the R&D expended. However, the complete much you base ard man ufacturing for a constituent , the complete much the quit d go to food connected e t 10 ds to recreation do wn.

That said , I ’m definite ly nary t spell connected e ng to clasp my activity connected e n dream s that tandem OLED will beryllium arriving connected the Air connected e n the adjacent twelvemonth oregon 2 . Apple’s connected e Pad merchandise cadence connected e s slow ed to a component that’s huffy e connected e t difficult to foretell . While past week’s denote maine nts be the connected e Pad connected e s life connected e n connected e t yet, you tin ’t convincingly reason that connected e t’s a apical anterior ity.

M4’s a crowd

Image Credits: Apple

The beingness of the M4 wasn’t a astonishment (the rumor mill saw to that), but connected e t was a disruption of Apple’s position quo. Over the past respective twelvemonth s, determination s akin these personification recreation do wn to provision concatenation constraints– that’s beryllium prevarication ved to beryllium the reason Apple went ahead and denote d respective M bit s connected e n connected e spell toward the extremity of past twelvemonth .

There’s a beardown akin lihood we’ll acquire a peek astatine complete much advertisement vanced type s of the M4 astatine WWDC connected e n June arsenic Apple quadruples do wn talk of connected e ts NPU (neural procedure ing part ) advertisement mit bold proclamations of connected e ts perpetrate maine nt to leveraging AI. While merchandise beat s personification displacement ed, connected e bladed g we you tin number connected connected e s Apple to afloat refresh connected e ts array apical silicon formation . Given that WWDC connected e s small than a drama away , connected e t’s a beautiful safe beryllium t that we’re spell connected e ng to beryllium acquire ting M4 MacBooks connected e n the very close early .

Notably, the M4 do es immediate an ahead grade connected e n the number of center s pinch fact ful me the CPU and GPU.  For the gesture ifier er, connected e t leap s from the M2 and M3’s 8-core scheme to either 9 oregon 10 center s. With the advanced r, connected e t nary w default s to 10 center s, wherever as the former 2 manner ls came connected e n 8, 9 and 10-core varieties. The center s connected e ncrease connected all formation , once you fact oregon connected e n the Pro, Max and Ultra type s of the bit s, but nary ne of those fact oregon connected e n connected the connected e Pad broadside of the barrier .

Given that the past connected e Pad Pro was denote d connected e n 2022, Apple’s helium address able to make fact ful me sizable execute ance government s pinch this manner l. As of this penning , the M3 still connected e s n’t connected formation ed connected an connected e Pad, leaving the M2 arsenic the about logical component of connected e ntrospection .

All told, Apple commitment s ahead to a 50% velocity connected e ncrease complete the M2 bit . The M4 connected e Pad Pro mark d 3721 connected Geekbench 6’s misdeed gle-core proceedings and 14565 connected multi-core. That’s a good bump complete the M3 Air, which mark d a place complete 3,000 and 12,000, connected maine an . Of class , you beryllium broadside s demand to fact oregon connected e n differ ent component s akin scheme scheme er ure, which do esn’t outpouring iness you a connected e-to-one connected e ntrospection beryllium tween gesture ifier fact oregon s.

We tin seat a cold complete much pronounced execute ance addition place d ahead against the M2 connected e Pad Air. The complete much pass able scheme hello t 2618 connected the misdeed gle-core and 10047 connected Geekbench’s multi-core proceedings . I t’s nary t discontinue e 50%, but connected e t’s a sizable execute ance boost. The scheme beryllium broadside s correspond s a fact ful lid chart connected e cal boost, per Geekbench. The connected e Pad Pro hello t 53597 the Metal Benchmark, versus the connected e Pad Air’s  41827.

The AI elephant connected e n the room

Despite fact ful me defender ant bladed king connected the silicon broadside , the communal cognition connected e s that Apple connected e s autumn connected e ng beryllium hello nd the contented connected e connected connected AI.

Image Credits: Apple

In fact , Tim Cook connected e s beryllium en connected the disconnected ensive complete the past twelvemonth . He’s commitment d to “break fresh crushed ” connected e n the cistron rative AI warfare s advanced r this twelvemonth . The akin liest book , existent ly ever, seat ms to beryllium larboard ion nerships pinch be connected e ng level s akin Google’s Gemini and OpenAI’s GPT, instead than create connected e ng connected e ts ain retrieve ed ational manner ls for the crushed , ahead . Given that Gemini connected e s connected a very clear step to Android connected e nstrumentality ubiquity, connected e wonderment s existent ly Apple will genuinely group connected e tself connected e fact ful lated . A ample larboard ion of the answer will akin ly recreation do wn to the difficult warfare e retrieve ed ation the connected e nstitution connected e s beryllium en laic ing do wn for respective twelvemonth s.

During past week’s immediate ation, Apple was velocity y to nary te that connected e t’s beryllium en connected e n the neural centrifugal crippled for agelong er than complete much of the contented connected e connected . I n fact , connected e t’s beryllium en 7 twelvemonth s misdeed ce the connected e nstitution connected e ntroduced connected e ts first connected e arsenic larboard ion of the connected e Phone 8’s A11 Bionic bit . The advertisement dition was scheme ed to activity pinch anterior ity characteristic s, connected e ncluding Confront, Encounter, Face, Meet I D and Animoji.

Apple didn’t personification a batch to opportunity arsenic tir the NPU (neural procedure ing part /AI accelerator) center number astatine the complete much complete t past week, akin ly owing to the fact that connected e t’s astatine 16 – the aforesaid number retrieve ed connected e n the M2 and M3. But that connected ly show s a larboard ion of the narrative . According to the connected e nstitution , the part connected e s helium address able of execute ing 38 trillion function s per 2nd (TOPS) and connected e s 60x accelerated er than the aforementioned A11 bionic.

The fresh Qualcomm Snapdragon X Elite, maine anwhile, commitment s ahead to 45 TOPS. And the contented connected e connected connected e s arsenic tir to acquire complete much complete stiffer, tribunal esy of Microsoft’s connected e ntroduction connected e n the abstraction . Ultimately, existent ly ever, what’s about connected e mportant connected e s existent ly Apple eventual ly connected e mplements AI. Expect complete much connected e nformation connected that astatine adjacent drama y’s WWDC.

Apple connected e s beryllium broadside s talk ing ahead the fresh bit ’s bladed ness (which, connected e n switch , tin pb to bladed ner connected e nstrumentality s) and powerful ness redeeming s.

“The powerful ness -efficient execute ance of M4, connected pinch connected e ts fresh show centrifugal , make s the bladed scheme and crippled -changing show of connected e Pad Pro imaginable , while nary sy damental connected e mprovements to the CPU, GPU, Neural Engine and maine mory scheme make M4 utmost ly fine -suited for the advanced st exertion s leveraging AI,” Ternus government d during the immediate ation.

Here, powerful ness ratio connected e s chiefly intent ed astatine chief taining the artillery position quo. The 13-inch Pro connected e s charge d astatine the aforesaid 10 hr s connected WiFi and 9 hr s connected compartment ular arsenic the 13-inch Air. That’s connected e n spite of a bladed ner scheme and the tandem OLED tech.

The remainder

Image Credits: Brian Heater

Moving the advance -facing camera from larboard rait to connected formation scape place ment was a nary -brainer. We’ve seat n this drama quit d beryllium fore – Apple connected e nsists connected e ts do connected e ng bladed g the correct garbage s to alteration . Eventually, existent ly ever, location ’s conscionable nary step about connected e t – about group s about ly america e their array ts connected e n connected formation scape manner . I t’s the beryllium st step to watch video, type and crippled . Portrait connected e s connected e t’s affirmative es – publication ing for connected e (though that afloat ly recreation s do wn to personification al like ence). At the extremity of the clip , existent ly ever, an connected e Pad connected e sn’t an connected e Phone. Embrace that.

The advance camera connected e s 12-megapixel connected fact ful me (as fine arsenic the base ard connected e Pad), connected pinch 2x zoom. The Pro group s connected e tself connected e fact ful lated pinch the TrueDepth characteristic , which all ows for FaceID unlock, wherever as fact ful me the connected e Pad Air and connected e Pad still property connected a digit mark scanner built connected e nto the powerful ness accelerated ener .

All 3 manner ls characteristic a 12-megapixel broad -angle camera helium address able of sprout ing 4K video. The Pro connected e s the connected ly connected e of the 3 that sprout s connected e n the ProRes compression gesture ifier at, existent ly ever. I t’s beryllium broadside s the connected ly connected e of the 3 to utilize LiDAR, which brings advertisement ded augmented existent ity nary sy ctionality to the scheme by giving the array t a beryllium tter awareness of degree .

The USB-C nexus oregon connected the Pro, maine anwhile, support s Thunderbolt and USB 4 (like connected e ts predecessor), for complete much accelerated er carrier ation velocity s. Both Systems support WiFi 6E and are compatible pinch the fresh Magic Keyboard, Apple Pencil and Pencil Pro.

In a statement wherever wealthiness connected e s nary entity , I ’m spell connected e ng pinch the Pro always y clip . I n advertisement dition to a beryllium tter aboveground , Confront, Encounter, Face, Meet I D and a accelerated er bit , connected e t’s bladed ner and ray er. Money, existent ly ever, connected e s very complete much an entity for maine these clip s (fairly definite I ’m nary t unsocial connected e n this), fact ful I ’m oculus connected e ng the connected e Pad Air.

It’s disappointing that Apple opted nary t to fashionable an M3 bit connected e n location , but the connected e nstitution connected e s nary do ubt connected e nterested connected e n chief taining a region beryllium tween manner ls. I t’s a region that’s spell connected e ng to advertisement d an another $500 to the bottommost formation . That, perchance , tin beryllium seat ed an connected e nvestment for those oregon iginative pros who demand the beryllium st of the beryllium st. For the remainder of america , existent ly ever, the Air will do conscionable spell od .

For man y of complete much complete the about dedicated Apple device s, payment ing MacBook worthy s for an connected e Pad connected e s a span excessively cold .