iPad Updates May 2024: iPad Pro M4 and iPad Air M2

It’s also remarkable (pun intended) thin

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https://x.com/toniievych/status/1789651434650120400?s=46

https://x.com/toniievych/status/1789924085989831111?s=46

https://x.com/hifihedgehog/status/1790242806579044836?s=46

Sorry but this guy has ZERO credibility IMHO as he has been an Apple basher from the get go.

I’ll wait until some real reviews and tests which should appear after the embargo ends later today.

So now I can say it officially , but the new 13 pro has THE BEST MOBILE DISPLAY we have ever tested, period. and the 11 is a fraction of a percent behind being only ever so slightly less bright.

So good that it exceeds our testing equipment in several areas like accuracy and linearity.

And yes, I have bitten the bullet and ordered the 1TB version with the Nano glass despite my having no need for that much storage on my iPad.

Also the Nano does have a slightly different feel with the pencil compared to the standard glass, but it’s really only noticeable in a side by side comparison.

PS: the new OLED has slightly less peak brightness than the previous 12.9 miniLED model, but it’s only a small percentage , but the improved accuracy and contrast more then compensates IMHO

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That’s incredibly impressive. The downside of OLED monitors has always been the brightness compared to LCD, not even counting miniLED. As I found when I shopped for a 27-in 240Hz OLED gaming monitor, where the “1000 nits” only applies to a 2% area at best.

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Agreed, it’s 100% down to the new dual layer design which I’m still not sure how apple /samsung solved the the huge engineering challenges (things like sync and 100% tone mapping) to get there, but hopefully I’ll get time with one of their engineers in the near future

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Hearing left and right about the insanely good display on the Pro is making me rethink Air or Pro.

I have three Apple products I seldom use still with trade-in value at Best Buy
iPad Pro 12.9 V3 64/AT&T - $210
iPad Mini 5 256GB - $215
M1 Macbook Air 8/256 - $400+

A $800-ish off certainly helps cushion the Price Pro blow.

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I see that list and I’m like “at those prices I could find a use for all of them”. I think I have a problem… :sweat_smile:

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Replace “I” with “we” and I think you’ve described our entire user base…

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I had the same thought and I’ve never used anything Apple. Problem indeed.

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Literally what was going through my mind. I could use all of those at those prices.

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So I don’t want to get in to an extended benchmark and/or performance argument about the M4 vs… whatever.

OTOH I know that a few here might be interested in the tests we do for our customers which tend to be long, 60 minutes or plus per run and tend to be multifaceted/multifunction.

A few more caveats/comments. It’s IMHO virtually impossible (but is real world) to control for all of the variables that affect a “score” or a result in anyone area. Most common with portable devices are things like ambient temp under which the tests are conducted, plus more subtle things including things like device orientation especially with a tablet or even if the keyboard is attached (more on that in a moment).

Not to mention that with this round Apple throws a curveball in there by adding an extra core in the higher storage (1TB or 2TB) configurations.

So… the very short TLDR…
The M4 Pros in aggregate appear to be between 5% and 27 % faster than the M2 versions of the pros, depending on the individual test with the longest test, nearly two hours to complete, also showing the biggest improvement.

We attempt to control for as many variables as possible such as screen brightness (though even that is potentially problematic due to the switch to OLED from miniLED and storage size where we tested 1TB models of both.

As a side note, even that might be problematic as our tests tend to be both disk read and especially disk write intensive and as anyone knows that might have purchase multiple generations of the MacBook Airs, Apple has occasionally “cheaped out” different storage tiers where for example the 256GB configuration where they used a single slower large chip set versus dual chips (which demonstrably improves write speed)

Finally, and I’m pondering how/if we should restructure the tests as the new iPads seem to have improved thermal management in the M4 versions compared to the M2. Enough so that it’s slightly possible that that alone is responsible for the improved results (though I’m not convinced that’s the case, at least completely)

And again to the point of controlling for variables, the new Magic Keyboards “seem” to be better as dissipating heat from the iPad than the older versions. eg. based on our thermal measurements, in a few of our tests, the combo of m2 with the Magic Keyboard versus the M4 combination The iPad stays a few percent cooler while at the same time, the keyboard itself gets a few percent warmer.

As I’ve said many times here before, everyone needs to take all “benchmarks” with a huge grain of salt and context aka overall workflow is everything.

PS: One thing that Apple/Samsung appears to have made a significant improvement is with the new OLEDs which despite being OLEDs which almost universally run warmer (for many arcane and also obvious reasons eg. thinner displays tend to be warmer at any given brightness level) Apple/Samsung seems to have hit home run here where the displays actually run about 25% cooler than the miniLED ones.

OK that’s more than enough for a Thursday morning :slight_smile:

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One more (negative) thing about the new M4 iPads.

As @JoeS and I have talked about before, for a very specific use case/use group, the new M4 are a step backwards especially with the 12.9/13. which is that they still haven’ solved the bugaboo (for me anyway) with OLEDs which is color/brightness drift, where it looks like the OLEDs are significantly poorer performers.

OLED drift is still the reason to this day that they are not used in color critical work (production photo editing, chroma key in video etc. for publication or web etc.

I need to see if I can create a test(s) to qualify/quantify it, but it was visible to my eyes in a a couple of the longer tests.

I don’t think it’s enough to take away my “best portable display” proclamation , but it is signifiant enough for us to caution our customers about it, with perhaps just the recommendation to calibrate before every "production critical "session.

PS: It should be possible to at least partially mitigate the drift issue via firmware and I’ve shared what I saw with Apple

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I among most was wondering about this, given how thin they are…

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Gizmodo “What I love and what I can’t stand about the new iPads”

Be sure to read not only the original article, but the slide show.

I agree with some but not all of what he says. And I think he’s still coming from a PC/Macbook centric bias… As are many and that’s the challenge that Apple still has to overcome with lots of people if the iPad and IOS truly are the future of their devices.

PS: I am in the camp that thinks that those that want a MacPad need to give that up already, sorry @dstrauss :grinning:

I understand your take, and you’ve made some good points with earlier posts. At the same time, there are a couple things, but really just one of them that means I think Apple is making the wrong choices here as they attempt to move in this direction.

Price.

If Apple is never going to give any sort of MacOS experience on the iPad Pro, they’re charging too much. Full stop.

And I sincerely hope consumers vote with their wallet to clearly show Apple that.

We’ve had the power for 3 generations now to do so much more, but the software development and incentives have been too slow. Instead of removing barriers for developers to work with iPadOS, Apple has long been considered the hardest platform to develop on. With iPhone it’s different, and this article points to that. Many more people buy iPhones, so developers are willing to put up with Apple’s stupid rules because they’ll make money in that segment. Less and less people are buying iPads, and the software that would entice people to use an iPad as their primary computing device continues to not appear.

I’m pretty convinced that the plethora of YouTube reviewers who have said over and over again since M1 that the OS is holding back the iPad Pro are part of why people aren’t upgrading. Many realize their old iPads work just fine, and these won’t do anything differently. They’ll just do it with a nicer screen.

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The very reason why I’m holding on to my eight year old iPad. Can’t do a damn thing on the new ones I can’t already do on this old clunker.

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Yeah, even for a lot of the YouTube artists I’ve seen when reviewing these iPads talk about how they still use their 2018 IPP as their daily driver. Seems like the buy the new shiny one to review, but inevitably return it because it doesn’t improve their actual AR workflow over their old 2018 model. A few people upgraded for Hover, since it was an actual change, and a few more I’m sure will upgrade for barrel roll and squeeze functions this time.

Personally, I only “upgraded” to the M2 because I wanted a smaller iPad Pro for carrying around, and the mini just kept not being refreshed. The extra RAM on the M2 is nice for my larger canvases, but I didn’t initially upgrade for it. Just the smaller size. I also don’t even really use hover. You have to be so close to the screen for it to even work it doesn’t help my workflow.

If I were a full time professional artist who relied solely on the iPad Pro for my workflow, I would be tempted to upgrade to the M4 just because of barrel roll and squeeze, simply because of it’s my job, time is money, and shortcuts that speed up my workflow might justify the outrageous cost. But that’s a pretty small segment of users out there. I just don’t see how people are otherwise justifying this purchase for a prettier screen. Especially when it’s so small, it’s not like this is the best thing to watch a movie on.

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So I don’t think the new iPads are overpriced, in context of Apple’s other devices and they have moved the needle in the tech such as the display and processor and new pen.

OTOH, I think you’ve hit the crux of the problem more generally in that the platform hasn’t advanced enough and by that I mean apps both 3rd party and Apples as well as the OS haven’t gained enough new functionality to make them a compelling upgrade over at least the M processor series iPads.

In some respects this is likely a chicken and egg problem and I think Apple is at least trying to provide hardware that’s equal to what they already provide on the PC side so that’s not a barrier.

But I also think you can say the same thing across the PC industry generally. People are already holding on their system,Windows, Mac, iPad longer than ever and that’s simply down to “good enough” generally with the systems and lack of any applications that absolutely require more powerful/more capable hardware.

Perhaps AR and or AI will change that, but it hasn’t yet.

On that general topic, a friend texted me last night that his computer died and it seems that all the people that mention his model on the Internet class it as a “sub-basement” laptop. Nevertheless, that’s all he needs for his frequent blogging, web surfing, and streaming videos. He plans to get another one very similar in performance and cost. He doesn’t like to waste money on them.

I think that’s more typical of your average computer user, the non-professional type. He could do everything he does on an iPad but the base model plus keyboard accessory would be twice as expensive as what he buys and he wouldn’t want to switch from Windows. It’s what he knows.