Apple has recently wrapped up its May mostly online event. Mostly because Apple invited select reviewers to preview their newly released iPads. Some background: Apple did not update their iPad for almost 18 months, making 2023 the only year where Apple didn’t update the iPad since the iPad launched in 2010.

In summary, Apple updated the iPad Air to be on par with the previous generation iPad Pro, as per script. The big changes were the unveiling of the all-new redesigned iPad Pro with the all-new M4 chip and the introduction of the Apple Pencil. Other minor stuff is the 10th generation iPad is now priced at $329, Apple discontinued the 9th generation iPad and the starting price of the iPad Pro is now $999 instead of $799.

Updated iPad Air and iPad Pro

iPad Air

As usual, the iPad Air takes from the older iPad Pro and put it in the new chassis

Let’s begin with the spec bump. The iPad Air has always followed the script of getting the hands-me-down stuff from the previous generation iPad Pro while the iPad Pro gets the latest and the greatest. This generation is no different. iPad Air now has the M2 chip instead of the M1 chip, the front camera has been moved to the long side of the rectangle instead of the short one, so when you take FaceTime calls in landscape mode, it looks normal. And the M2 iPad Air supports the newly launched Apple Pencil Pro.

Everything else is the same as the previous generation of iPad Air.

iPad Pro

The start of this show is undoubtedly the iPad Pro and there’s a lot to unpack here since it is an all-new design.

The new iPad Pro is even thinner than the new Apple Pencil Pro
  • All-new thin design: Apple decided to make it the thinnest iPad Pro ever. With the 13" iPad Pro at 5.1mm thick, they mention that this is far thinner than the thinnest device Apple made, the 7th generation iPod Nano which was released back in 2012.
  • New Ultra Retina XDR display: The display is an all-new tandem OLED display is one of the reasons why the new iPad Pro is super thin. Apple is one of the first manufacturers to put this new tandem OLED to counter what was one of OLED deficiencies: screen brightness.
  • M4 chip: Apple put a brand new chip, the M4 on the new iPad Pro. This is a very interesting choice which we will discuss in another segment of this article. The basic principle is the highest level of performance for a consumer chip which enables the iPad Pro to power its new display
  • New Magic Keyboard: Of course, going with the new chassis design comes with the new Magic Keyboard. It’s thinner and lighter than the previous version but still gives the same “floating” display illusion and now allows 60W of passthrough power enabling your iPad Pro to charge faster.
    iPad Pro Camera setup. The ultrawide is now gone and there's a new TrueTone flash
  • New camera system: The camera system of the iPad Pro has been redesigned. Apple completely erased the ultrawide camera and put a new flash which will intelligently aid in capturing documents. Apple has smartly decided that you don’t want to be “that guy” who goes around with an iPad and takes pictures of things.

The intro video shows a huge collection of games, musical instruments, and stuff that get compressed by a giant hydraulic compressor. The compressor lifts and shows the new iPad Pro. The messaging was to showcase the capabilities of the iPad Pro, this $999 device can do all those things, but Apple unexpectedly made a faux pas when people see things differently. The Japanese especially have this belief that tools have spirits on their own and destroying it is truly evil. Oops.

For this new design, Apple didn’t only bump the spec, but also the price. With the iPad Pro starts now at $999 for the 11" and $1299 for the 13". With the 13" Magic Keyboard at $349, the combo is now equivalent to a base model M3 MacBook Pro, which makes an interesting comparison.

As always, you can’t customize your iPad Pro that much so there are a few important things to know. In the 256GB/512GB model, the M4 chips only have 9 CPU cores and 8GB of memory, while in the 1TB/2TB model, the M4 chip is equipped with 16GB of memory and 10 CPU cores. 1TB iPad Pro is $1599 for the 11" and $1899 for the 13". Ouch.

M4 Chip

While that was a gush of rumors about Apple releasing the M4 on the new iPad Pro, it is still a good question on why Apple went “off script” and released their latest chip on the iPad Pro instead of the Macs.

First, let’s get the facts about the M4 chip out of the way. The new base Apple Silicon has up to 10 CPU cores (4 performance and 6 efficiency cores), 10 GPU cores, and 16 NPU cores (the neural engine). Performance per core and watt is increased all across the board. Apple claims that the M4 has 50% more performance than the M2 that it replaces. With Apple managing to make the iPad Pro much thinner, which entails having a smaller battery, but making the battery life identical to the previous generation, the claim is believable.

Now let’s go down a little deeper than what was announced at the event. Apple decided to go “off-script” by introducing a brand new Apple Silicon on the iPad Pro instead of the MacBook Air (which is expected to be announced in October) could show a few things:-

  • Current generation 3nm manufacturing is not to Apple’s standard: The has been informed that Apple bought the entire 3nm production in 2023. There’s also reported problems with the 1st generation 3nm products that was on the A17 chip (which runs the iPhone 15 Pro) and the M3 family of chip. With Apple moving quickly to the 2nd generation 3nm manufacturing, it could be a sign that TSMC, Apple’s chip supplier is moving out from the 1st generation 3nm manufacturing quickly.
  • The heat is on: Apple is undoubtedly the king when it comes to ARM desktop chips like the latest M3. But with Qualcomm, their closest competitor slated to release their M3 beating chip X Elite, Apple decided to up the ante by releasing the M4 early.
  • AI mania: Apple is not the one that likes to jump on the bandwagon, but there are signs that Apple has caught the AI mania bug. Artificial intelligence and Machine Learning have been said a few times (with emphasis) in the presentation and Apple rightfully bragged about putting on the Neural Processing Unit for years while competitors just beginning to put them.

So putting the M4 on the iPad Pro could be a strategic decision from Apple ahead of WWDC 2024 which Apple will fully unveil its grand strategy.

New Apple Pencil Pro

The new Apple Pencil Pro has a gyroscope to detect when you barrel roll your pencil, a sensor that detect you are squeezing the pencil, a taptic engine to give haptic feedback and works with your Find My app.

Apple also introduced a new accessory for the new iPad Pro: the Apple Pencil Pro. The design looks identical to the Apple Pencil 2 but there’s now ‘Apple Pencil Pro’ engraved at the side so you’ll know you paid the expensive one.

Most of the features are on the inside of the Apple Pencil Pro. There’s now a gyroscope so the Apple Pencil Pro can detect when you barrel roll the pencil. New tools are unlocked using this new movement (where you can adjust the angle of a brush). There’s the haptic engine on the pencil now and a squeeze sensor, so it’s a new “mouse click” for the pencil. The pencil also integrates with the Find My app so you’ll never have to lose your pencil again.

The Apple Pencil Pro is only compatible with the iPads that are released today: the M2 iPad Air and M4 iPad Pro.

Updated Pro Apps

The event is mostly focused on new hardware, but Apple is a software company too. Together with iPad updates, Apple gives a few updates on their professional apps which justify the “Pro” moniker on the iPad Pro.

Logic Pro is updated with new AI-enhanced “bandmates” which produce beats for drums, bass, and keyboard. One feature that caught my eye is the “Stem Splitter” where it could take a current recording and split it into individual tracks.

Final Cut Pro has also been updated to be more capable. There’s live multicam support which you can control up to 4 cameras at once. Furthermore, there’s a new app, Final Cut Camera which helps stream data from supported iPhones/iPads into the Final Cut Pro iPad. The Final Cut Pro iPad can remotely control the camera like the focus, exposure, and zoom.


Apple now sells four kinds of Apple Pencils

Apple increased the starting price of the iPad Pro by $200 while lowering the iPad 10 price. This makes the proposition of each line clearer.

The event might showcase new iPads and their accessories, but it also sets expectations for WWDC 2024 which is scheduled to go live on 10 June 2024. It is hard to miss that Apple used the keywords “Artificial Intelligence” and “Machine Learning” a few times and we would expect Apple will showcase new AI features in WWDC 2024.

Since the M4 has been introduced, the question now remains: can we expect new M4 professional chips like the M4 Pro, M4 Max, M4 Ultra, and possibly the M4 Extreme in WWDC 2024? Last year, Apple unleashed the whole M3 family by straight up releasing the M3, M3 Pro, and M3 Max when introducing the updated MacBook Pro family.

It has been said time and time again: that iPad hardware outstrips the capabilities of its software. Apple forked out iPadOS from iOS to enable more features for the iPad, but it is not enough. One can just see that the M3 MacBook Air is far more versatile than the M4 iPad Pro despite the iPad having more powerful hardware. Perhaps Apple will loosen the handcuffs on iPadOS in WWDC 2024. One can be hopeful.


Support this free website by visiting my Amazon affiliate links. Any purchase you make will give me a cut without any extra cost to you

iPhonesiPhone 15 / iPhone 15 Plus (Renewed) - (Amazon)iPhone 15 Pro / iPhone 15 Pro Max (Renewed) - (Amazon)
WatchApple Watch SE (Amazon) / Apple Watch Series 9 (Amazon)Apple Watch Ultra 2 (Amazon)
AirPodsAirPods 3 (Amazon)AirPods Pro 2 (Amazon) / AirPods Max (Amazon)
iPadiPad 10 (Amazon) / iPad Mini (Amazon)iPad Air M2 (Amazon) / iPad Pro M4 (Amazon)
LaptopsMacBook Air M3 (Amazon)MacBook Pro M3 (Amazon) / MacBook Pro M3 Pro/Max (Amazon)
DesktopMac Mini (Amazon) / iMac (Amazon)Mac Studio / Mac Pro
DisplaysStudio Display (Amazon)Pro Display XDR (Amazon)

Other Ecosystem Items