iPad Pro M4 (2024) review: big, bad, but now thinner!

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iPad Pro M4 (2024) review: big, bad, but now thinner!

iPad Pro M4 (2024) Intro


The new iPad Pros have finally launched, and they come with a set of surprises alongside the expected "regular" updates.

For example, Mini LED is gone, and we now have OLED displays — both of them. Then, there's the new M4 chip — the debut of Apple's latest silicon is in the iPad Pro line, not a Mac! It comes with a new NPU for more AI tricks, which will be inevitably coming to Apple's platforms.

Then, good old Apple is back, trying to make each new device thinner — the 13-inch iPad Pro M4 is the thinnest Apple device ever. Slimmer even than the old iPod Nano!

The iPad Pro M4 starts at $999 for a 256 GB base storage — up from $899 and 128 GB for the old model. Now available at the Apple Store, Amazon, and all your favorite retailers.

Here's what's new at a glance:

New features in iPad Pro M4 (2024):
  • New, thinner design (iPad Pro 11 is 5.3 mm thin, iPad Pro 13 is 5.1 mm thin)
  • The big iPad's screen grows to a round 13", from 12.9"
  • Apple M4, second-gen 3 nm process
  • OLED screens (tandem OLED, dual-layered)
  • Selfie camera to landscape orientation
  • New design for Magic Keyboard
  • New Apple Pencil Pro
  • 256 GB base storage
  • Nano texture glass option (1 TB and 2 TB models)

iPad Pro 11-inch M4: Save up to $580 with a trade-in

The iPad Pro M4 is here! You can now get the 11-inch model with a brand-new OLED screen and a powerful M4 chipset straight from the source and save up to $580 with select trade-ins. Education Savings are also open.
$419
$999
Buy at Apple

iPad Pro 11-inch M4: get at Amazon for 7% off

The iPad Pro M4 is here! You can now get the 11-inch model with a brand-new OLED screen and a powerful M4 chipset at Amazon for 7% off.

iPad Pro 13-inch (2024): Save up to $580 with a trade-in

Get your 13-inch M4-powered iPad Pro and save up to $580 with select trade-ins. Minimum savings amount is $40. There are also Education Savings available at the official Apple Store.
$719
$1299
Buy at Apple

iPad Pro 13-inch (2024): Get at Amazon for 6% off

Need a larger screen? In such a case, we suggest the larger iPad Pro M4 at Amazon. With its impressive M4 chipset, this tablet gives you the ultimate iPad experience. Get the 512GB version for 6% off.

Table of Contents:

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iPad Pro M4 (2024) Specs

The king of the slabs

The iPad Pro always has supercharged hardware — enough to run desktop-class apps and console-grade games. Literally, with games like Resident Evil and Assassin's Creed: Mirage already out for or headed for iPads with any M-class chip. But it is quite shocking that the brand-new M4 chip debuts in a tablet, instead of a MacBook.


iPad Pro M4 (2024) Design & Display

It's definitely a Pro-duct


New designs! Kind of... The new iPad Pros with M4 chips are now slightly thinner and lighter than before. The "big" model now has a 13-inch display, instead of 12.9 inches. And the selfie camera now resides on the right frame of the tablet — top frame when it's in landscape, which will make video calls less awkward. No titanium treatment, but Apple made it a point that the 0.21 inch chassis of the 11" and the 0.2 inch chassis of the 13" are "as sturdy as before".

The Pro iPads, much like their iPhone counterparts, usually come in boring colors. That is Space Black and Silver — no quirky or vibrant options like on the iPad Air or the base iPad.



iPad Pro users have been envious of that base tier iPad 10th gen — it had the Magic Keyboard Folio, which had function keys — something missing from the good old Magic Keyboard for Pros. Well, no worries — Apple has taken the time to update that, too! The new Magic Keyboard now comes with function keys and a larger trackpad for a more "laptop replacement" look, feel, and function. Plus, an aluminum palm rest. All cool — unfortunately, it will only fit the new Pros. And, conversely, the iPad Pro M4 (2024) will not fit older Magic Keyboard models.



The Apple Pencil also got some love — here comes the Apple Pencil Pro. Separate purchase, compatible with both the iPad Pro M4 (2024) and iPad Air M2 (2024). It comes with a new squeeze sensor for ease of access to sub-menus, as well as a gyroscope for real-time brush and barrel roll control. And it has a Taptic engine inside to give you gentle feedback on a squeeze.


As we all know, chargers have been dissapearing from Apple product boxes. Thus far, iPads did include it, but no more. The iPad Pro M4 ships with a tablet and a cable in the box, that's that.


Apple seemed set on not going to OLED tech for its premium tablets — instead, it gave us the Mini LED panels in the iPad Pro 12.9 (2021) and iPad Pro 12.9 (2022). It looks good... but not OLED good — there's still some blooming observed when watching in the dark.

Now, we have new panels in the new iPad Pros, and they are special! Tandem OLED — the iPad Pro M4 (2024) screens are made of dual-layered OLED sheets, stacked on top of each other. This ensures better color calibration and much more brightness. As per Apple specs, we have 1,000 nits max brightness for SDR, and 1,600 peak brightness for HDR content. This is not iPhone levels of bright, but rest assured it's plenty of nits!

Display Measurements:




Of course, they have 120 Hz ProMotion refresh rate and, double of course, they have a special new name — say "Hello" to Ultra Retina XDR!

As an added bonus, professionals who often work in bright environments — or outdoors — but demand excellent colors and visibility can upgrade to a nano-textured glass when buying a new iPad Pro. This option is $100 extra, and it's only available on the 1 TB and 2 TB models — so it's pretty pricey.

The oleophobic coating on the glass seems to be doing better than before! Ever since the Apple Pencil was introduced, Apple introduced a new coating to the screens, presumably to ensure smooth performance from the stylus. It wasn't good at keeping fingerprints off before, but with our new iPad units — it's pretty easy to keep them clean.

Unlocking an iPad Pro is still done via Face ID and it is still orientation-agnostic. You can look at it upside down for all it matters, the Face ID will still work right. It's pretty fast, reliable, and has quite a wide angle.

iPad Pro (2024) Camera

It's a tablet, not a camera



In reality, people don't hold up tablets to take photos out in the park or at a show... thankfully! So, cameras are not where tablets — the iPads included — usually put a lot of focus. A good enough rear camera is required for the occasional shot or document scan. And, it seems Apple agrees. The ultra-wide camera from the back has been stealthily removed. Now, we have the 12 MP main snapper with an improved "adaptive" True Tone flash next to it for better white balance when taking photos of paper.

Thanks to the chip, you can still do 4K video at 24 FPS, 25 FPS, 30 FPS, 60 FPS, and ProRes video at 4K 30 FPS... uh, if you want to do this with a 12 MP tablet camera.

The selfie camera, as we mentioned, has now moved, so it is in a better spot when your iPad is in a landscape position (most of the time). It has the same 12 MP resolution as before, and an ultra-wide lense so it supports Center Stage — the software feature that follows your face around as you move, or widens the shot when it sees two faces enter the frame. We've grown to like it and prefer it after a couple of years of use now.

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Also, the Pro iPads have the LiDAR sensor on the back — a Time of Flight camera, which enables accurate environmental scanning and placing virtual objects in your space. It gives you a better virtual ruler and better-performing AR apps and games. Though, we haven't seen the AR trend explode, so this is still a very niche feature.

iPad Pro M4 (2024) Performance

Faster than a Mac? Can't tell yet

It was quite a shock to see a new Apple chip debut on a tablet, not a Mac. The Apple M3 is not even a year old, and now we have the Apple M4, powering the iPad Pro (2024) edition. We have a slight suspicion that it's only a branch of the M3 silicon, and not a full on generational upgrade. Apple talked a lot about how it compares to the M2 — the M4 is up to 50% faster than the M2, and its GPU is up to 4 times faster — plus, it adds Dynamic caching, Mesh Shading, Ray tracing for some advanced real time graphics work.



And it already outperforms the M3 in benchmarks, so it's not just a rebrand — it's a legit new processor. Kind of a bold move.

Performance Benchmarks:


Geekbench 6
SingleHigher is better
Apple iPad Pro 13-inch(M4,2024)3720
Apple iPad Pro 11-inch(2022)2642
Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra2071
Google Pixel Tablet1468
Geekbench 6
MultiHigher is better
Apple iPad Pro 13-inch(M4,2024)13280
Apple iPad Pro 11-inch(2022)10055
Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra5531
Google Pixel Tablet3866
3DMark Extreme(High)Higher is better
Apple iPad Pro 13-inch(M4,2024)7311
Apple iPad Pro 11-inch(2022)6929
Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra3905
Google Pixel Tablet1858
3DMark
Extreme(Low)Higher is better
Apple iPad Pro 13-inch(M4,2024)7009
Apple iPad Pro 11-inch(2022)4660
Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra2997
Google Pixel Tablet1848


But let's get down to the nitty gritty — real life use. Nobody is surprised — these run fast, smooth, responsive, extremely satisfying. M4 is a beast, and iPadOS is... well, not quite a desktop system. You can rest assured that you will have a lot of headroom and years of work out of this tablet. In fact, we are still rocking 2020 and 2021 iPad Pros around the office — those A12Z and M1 chips still huff and puff well enough for medium workloads, audio work, photo and video editing.

Apple did finally launch Logic Pro and Final Cut Pro for iPads last year, and it gave them very nice updates this year. Live Multicam with up to 4 iPhones beaming imagery to a single Final Cut instance on your iPad is pretty cool.

Logic Pro also comes with new AI features — the good old Drummer gets new band buddies — AI powered bassist and keyboards. OK, one — this is very cool. Secondly — it'll probably come to slightly older iPad Pros, too. See, Apple did make it a point that it has been putting Neural Engine segments in its chips well before the rest of the industry started using dedicated NPUs for AI.

If you have an M1 iPad Pro, maybe you aren't even in a hurry to upgrade, unless you want the cool new thin chassis, the new Magic Keyboard, or the new Apple Pencil Pro (or at least the Hover feature for the Pencil gen 2).

iPad Pro M4 (2024) software



The new iPad Pros will come with iPadOS 17 right out of the box — there's simply no newer version. We guess we will see a sneak peek of iPadOS 18 when WWDC opens in June. But, for the time being, 17 is what we got.

The OS came with the new Journal app, a Weather app facelift, new iMessage features that make group chats easier to navigate and participate in, and new Apple Music features for shared playlists. Plus, some minor facelifts across other apps. Stage Manager is of course a huge feature here, as it gives you a desktop-ish environment to multitask and work in, when you connect an external monitor via the Thunderbolt port.



We did talk a bit about the new Logic and Final Cut features in the hardware section. AI was kind of brushed during the presentation — Apple made it a point to imply that old features, such as picking up a subject from the background, or copying text from a photo or live video, were already "AI features". No bold new statements were made, and we expect a bigger AI-loaded drop during WWDC in June or at iPhone release in September.

iPads, like iPhones, receive OS updates for a good chunk of time after release — a minimum of 5 years. Apple hasn't really came out to promise such a concrete number, but history shows us that this is the period Cupertino typically aims for. So, the iPad Pro (2024) is expected to last you this long:

  • 2024 - launch with iPadOS 17
  • Late 2024 - get iPadOS 18
  • Late 2025 - get iPadOS 19
  • Late 2026 - get iPadOS 20
  • Late 2027 - get iPadOS 21
  • Late 2028 - get iPadOS 22
  • Late 2029 - questionable. We may or may not get iPadOS 23 here

iPad Pro M4 (2024) Battery

10 hours of solid work


With all of its mobile devices, from laptops to phones to tablets, Apple aims for a comfortable 10-hour screen-on time. Anything extra is a bonus, anything less than that is not ideal. Our experience with the "normal-sized" iPads thus far is that yes, medium load like video streams and multi-app use will drain the battery at a speed of 10% per hour. If you game a lot, or do video editing, the overall on time can fall to 8 or even 6 hours if you are not giving it any breathing room.

Apple iPad Pro 13-inch (M4, 2024)
Apple iPad Pro 13-inch (M4, 2024)
Battery Life Estimate
6h 4m
Ranks #1 for phones tested in the past 2 years
Average is 5h 34m
Browsing
10h 54m
Average is 10h 41m
Video
8h 22m
Average is 7h 6m
Gaming
8h 34m
Average is 7h 16m
Charging speed
18W
Charger
30%
30 min
2h 28m
Full charge
Ranks #7 for phones released in the past 2 years
Wireless Charging
0W
Charger
0%
30 min
0h
Full charge


Apple's specs lists the batteries of the iPad Pro M4 (2024) as 31.29-watt-hour for the 11-inch and 38.99-watt-hour for the 13-inch. Assuming those are 3.77 V batteries, this should translate to something around:

  • iPad Pro 11" M4 (2024) battery capacity - ~8,300 mAh
  • iPad Pro 13" M4 (2024) battery capacity - ~10,340 mAh

Our benchmark tests kind of confirmed our hunches, but also surprised us somewhat. It seems the new iPad Pro M4 is kind of "evening out" the battery performance — simple web browsing drains faster. But 3D gaming and video streming is up. So, the M4 is definitely more efficient, that's a thing.

PhoneArena Battery Test Results:


Web Browsing(hours)Higher is better
Apple iPad Pro 13-inch(M4,2024)10h 54 min
Apple iPad Pro 11-inch(2022)12h 57 min
Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra9h 54 min
Google Pixel Tablet6h 48 min
Video Streaming(hours)Higher is better
Apple iPad Pro 13-inch(M4,2024)8h 22 min
Apple iPad Pro 11-inch(2022)7h 34 min
Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra7h 22 min
Google Pixel Tablet9h 12 min
3D Gaming(hours)Higher is better
Apple iPad Pro 13-inch(M4,2024)8h 34 min
Apple iPad Pro 11-inch(2022)6h 17 min
Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra5h 48 min
Google Pixel Tablet6h 37 min

The iPads still draw 20 W on the wire, so it'll take them a while to charge a full 100%:

PhoneArena Charging Test Results:

15 Mins(%)Higher is better
Apple iPad Pro 13-inch(M4,2024)14%
30 Mins(%)Higher is better
Apple iPad Pro 13-inch(M4,2024)30%
Full Charge(hours)Lower is better
Apple iPad Pro 13-inch(M4,2024)2h 28 min
Apple iPad Pro 11-inch(2022)2h 12 min

iPad Pro (2024) Audio Quality and Haptics


Well, there are no haptics on Apple's tablets, unlike Samsung's Galaxy Tab devices. We can't say we miss them — it's a bit weird when you have a whole tablet vibrating with your taps and swipes.

Since the new Pros are so thin, the speaker design inside is different and there's a slightly less bass coming out from them for sure. They are still quite loud, meaty, and detailed, though. We wouldn't say it's a dealbreaker.

iPad Pro (2024) Models


As before, the iPad Pros are coming in two flavors — a regular-sized iPad Pro 11" to a huge iPad Pro 13". We generally recommend the smaller version for most people — it's much more portable, easier to fit in various spots, nooks and crannies around your home or working environment. And an 11-inch screen is generally good enough for most things you'd do on a tablet.

However, the market has proved that customers love large tablets. That's why Apple continues to produce the iPad Pro 13", and that's why Samsung keeps making the Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra (we actually asked — apparently, 30% of Galaxy Tab S8 sales were of the Tab S8 Ultra. Isn't that crazy?). Since these are big, cumbersome, and quite expensive, we imagine that if you want one, you have your very well-defined reasons. A laptop replacer it is not, but maybe some people simply don't want MacOS or Windows — just a huge canvas to draw on, open large apps, or watch movies.



iPad Pro M4 (2024) should you buy it?



iPad Pros are great — they run fast and smooth, their displays are awesome, and they can do... some stuff. They are definitely not laptop-like, so if you intend to be a "digital nomad" with one — take into consideration that an iPad still favors the "one app at a time" approach. This, combined with the price, puts a lot of people off.

But if you will be drawing on it, doing text work and meetings on it, using it to binge YouTube and Netflix on the side, even incorporating it in audio or visual work — it can work as a great digital assistant throughout the day. This author has an iPad Pro that's pretty much on for about 4-8 hours each day, so it can definitely deliver a value through the years.

And iPads have proven to be capable workhorses for years and years — that M4 chip is just overkill, and you will definitely get at least 5 years of software updates.

If you own an M1 iPad Pro? You're fine. Unless you are itching for a new toy, or are an artist that really needs the new Apple Pencil Pro features, you are fine.


Pros

  • Thin, light, and pretty
  • New tandem OLED is awesome
  • Apple M4 is the king in any mobile device
  • Thunderbolt port for extremely fast transfer speeds
  • Good, well-balanced battery life
  • New Magic Keyboard and selfie camera bring it closer to laptop experience

Cons

  • Expensive on its own, exorbitant when you add accessories
  • Speakers sound good, but suffered a slight downgrade
  • Apple M4 is awesome, but doesn't get to stretch its legs too much

PhoneArena Rating:

9.0

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