New M4-powered iPad Pro (2024) blows its M2-based predecessor out of the water

Peter, 09 May 2024

This week Apple launched new iPad Pros and new iPad Airs – yes, plural, the Air now comes in 11” and 13” sizes like the Pro models. Also interesting is that the Air is in a sense an “iPad Pro SE”, i.e. the 2024 models use the Apple M2 chip that the 2022 Pros used, while the 2022 Air had an M1 like the 2021 Pros.

M4 vs. M2 performance (numbers by Apple) M4 vs. M2 performance (numbers by Apple)

Is this starting to get confusing? Let’s put aside model numbers and look at early performance benchmarks from the new iPad Pros, which use the brand new Apple M4 chip, and compare them to 2022 Pros. The Geekbench database doesn’t have the new Airs just yet, but the 2022 Pros are a fine substitute – as we noted above, both use the M2.

In case you missed it, the Apple iPad Pro 11 (2024) and iPad Pro 13 (2024) use two different versions of the M4 chip and have different RAM capacities based on storage. The 256GB and 512GB models have 8GB of RAM and an M4 with 9 CPU cores (3 performance, 4 efficiency), while the 1TB and 2TB models have 16GB RAM and 10 CPU cores (4 performance, 4 efficiency). More details here.

iPad Air and iPad Pro 2024 models iPad Air and iPad Pro 2024 models
iPad Air and iPad Pro 2024 models

The situation with the Apple iPad Air 11 (2024) and iPad Air 13 (2024) is simpler – all versions have 8GB of RAM and all use the same Apple M2 chip (4+4 cores). With that said, keep in mind that we’ve picked out a 16GB/10-core iPad Pro (2024) and an 8GB/8-core iPad Pro (2022) in lieu of an Air.

The results are nothing short of impressive, considering that the Apple M2 was announced in mid-2022. There is a bit of variance, but both single-core and multi-core performance is in the range of 40-45% higher than the M2 achieved. That’s an impressive boost for two years, especially since the M2 was already quite fast.

M4 vs. M2 performance (numbers by Geekbench) M4 vs. M2 performance (numbers by Geekbench)

To be fair, the new chip is fabbed on a newer semiconductor node, TSMC’s N3E, while the M2 was fabbed on an N5P node. What’s interesting is that N3E seems to be a lower cost version of the N3B node that was used for the Apple M3 series.

If you like what you see, you can already pre-order the new iPad Pro 2024 models. They are available from, of course, but you can also pick them up from Best Buy. Or you can stick with the new iPad Airs – like we said, the M2 was already pretty fast.

The table below shows the prices for the different Pro and Air models with links to Best Buy if you’re interested. Note that the retailer offers a $50 discount if you have Best Buy Plus and you can get up to $600 of trade-in credit.

iPad Air iPad Pro
11” 13" 11” 13”
128GB $600 $800 - -
256GB $700 $900 $1,000 $1,300
512GB $900 $1,100 $1,200 $1,500
1TB $1,100 $1,300 $1,600 $1,900
2TB - - $2,000 $2,300

The prices listed are for the Wi-Fi only versions of the tablet, the Wi-Fi + Cellular versions cost $200 more. And by the way, the new nano-texture glass is available only on the Pros and only on the pricier 1TB and 2TB models – the glass itself is a paid upgrade at a price of $100.


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Reader comments

Sadly a18 can't dream of getting near to sd8gen4. Let not talk about gpu gap. A18 can't even beat older sd8gen3.

Which i9 chip and in what? Surely talking about 5th gen. This dumb soc can't run aaa titles at 30% potential. Let alone running all hardware acceleration based workflow

  • Jon
  • 13 May 2024
  • Ab@

Considering the M1 iPads are faster than a Intel i9 chip....... I could care less how over powered the M4 is.......i’m more curious if iPads will loose a year of updates cuz Apple skipped the M3 variant.....

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