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iPad Air M2 (2024) vs iPad Professional M4 (2024): expectations


It has been some time since we have seen new iPads — 2023 was the Nice iPad Drought! The final time Apple up to date any of its tablets was in 2022. That every one modified right now — we now have new iPad Airs and Professionals to gawk at, pre-order, and look ahead to!

The brand new iPad Air (2024) comes with an M2 chip inside and a brand new measurement choice, and the iPad Professional (2024) is the first-ever system powered by an M4! Now, the query is… do you even want a Professional, when the Air is simply that good?Properly, there are teensy tiny variations between them. Let’s discover them:
iPad Air M2 (2024) vs iPad Professional M4 (2024) expectations:

  • 11-inch and 13-inch choices for each fashions
  • 120 Hz refresh price solely on Professional line
  • OLED screens solely on Professional line
  • USB C with USB 3 speeds on Air, Thunderbolt speeds (4x) on iPad Professional
  • Two audio system (panorama stereo) vs 4 audio system (stereo)
  • LiDAR digicam to stay a Professional function
  • We now have a much bigger, 13-inch iPad Air (2024)!
  • Large iPad Professional additionally grows to 13 inches

Desk of Contents:

Design and Dimension

Previous, meet new
The fashionable iPad Air line is there to present you an iPad Professional for much less cash. The corners that have been reduce — it has a 60 Hz display as an alternative of 120 Hz ProMotion, it lacks a Face ID array and makes use of Contact ID fingerprint studying as an alternative, and would not have the brand new OLED show of the Professionals, however extra on that later.

Nonetheless, the Air does have an 11-inch and 13-inch mannequin, and does help the brand new Apple Pencil Professional (or an older gen Apple Pencil, should you so want). It is also a stunning deisgn, 0.24 in (6.1 mm) thick for each fashions, weighing 1.02 lbs (462 g) and 1.36 lbs (617 g) for the 11-inch and 13-inch variants respectively.

The iPad Professional appears acquainted, however has in truth been redesigned. The brand new Professional slates at the moment are ultra-thin, at 0.21 in (5.3 mm) and 0.2 in (5.1 mm) for the 11″ and 13″ mannequin respectively. They’re additionally fairly gentle at 0.98 kilos (444 grams) and 1.28 kilos (579 grams).

OK, so the iPad Air will get to look a bit extra “outdated model” — that is not a giant deal. The excellent news is that it will likely be suitable with the outdated Magic Keyboard equipment, which have been initially launched for the 2020, 2021, 2022 iPad Professionals. Then once more, the brand new Magic Keyboard for the iPad Professional M4 positive appears good — greater touchpad with haptic suggestions, aluminum arm relaxation, perform key row — fairly fascinating upgrades.

Not less than, each the Air and Professional will match and pair with the brand new Apple Pencil Professional — an upgraded stylus that now has a squeeze management, haptic suggestions, and a gyroscope for barrel rolls and angle brushing.

The iPads have had USB C ports for some time now, so no change anticipated there. However, as earlier than, now we have Thunderbolt file switch speeds (40 Gbps) unique to the iPad Professional M4 line, and the iPad Air M2 has USB 3 (10 Gbps).

Show Variations

The show sizes of the Airs and the Professionals are the identical, however that is the place the similarities finish. The brand new iPad Professional M4 (2024) comes with a brand-new Tandem OLED display — twin layers of OLED with higher colour stability and elevated brightness (1,000 nits SDR, 1,600 nits peak HDR). Plus, they’re nonetheless 120 Hz ProMotion panels, preserving the excessive refresh price unique to the Professional fashions. The entire bundle has been dubbed Extremely Retina XDR.

The iPad Air M2 (2024) sticks to good outdated 60 Hz LCD (ahem, Liquid Retina) and has a 500 nit max brightness (600 nits for the 13-inch mannequin).

Other than these very core specs, the shows do share premium options — like a laminated development, the place the glass and the contact panel are fused collectively for an total thinner construct. And so they have a particular anti-glare coating that has been on the premium iPads for years now — fairly efficient. The specs web page additionally lists oleophobic coating — we do want this one is upgraded in a roundabout way as nicely. Ever for the reason that Apple Pencil has been launched, the oleophobic coating on iPads was modified to one thing… far much less efficient. And that goes for all items that help some model of the Pencil.

The 1 TB and a couple of TB iPad Professional M4 fashions can be upgraded to nano-textuded glass for glare discount. That is a $100 further, however should you’re already shopping for a 1 TB or 2 TB mannequin… we think about it will not hassle you an excessive amount of.

Talking of the Apple Pencil, the iPad Air M2 (2024) will now get the Pencil Hover function — simply going over the display with the tip of the stylus will act as a cursor. This was launched with the iPad Professional (2022) and was unique to that mannequin till now.

Efficiency and Software program

The upper-range iPads have been getting the Apple M processors for a few years now. The M1 from the MacBooks made it to the iPad Professionals of 2021, then the M2 was put within the iPad Professional (2022), whereas the iPad Air (2022) acquired the M1. See the pattern? We thought we did, however lo and behold — the iPad Professional (2024) is the primary system to get the most recent M4 chip! Earlier than it makes it to a Mac or anything.

Possibly it is a department of the M3, simply branded like a brand new era for higher advertising functions? Too early to know. However it’s a second-gen 3 nm processor, and Apple states it is 50% quicker than M2. Its GPU now helps Dynamic Caching, Mesh Shading, Ray Tracing and is 4 instances quicker than the one within the M2. Fairly spectacular numbers.

Does this imply that the iPad Air M2, or — certainly — the iPad Professional (2022) at the moment are… dangerous? Nah, not practically. M-class processors have insane headroom, particularly in terms of cellular functions. Positive, the brand new M4 is fancy and succesful, however we need to see actual life software the place it delivers enhanced battery life or really breathtaking efficiency. We’ll choose it then.

The place the Air line differs is its base storage tier. It has now been upgraded to 128 GB at tier 1 — and that is for a similar $599 value as earlier than. Not unimaginable, however you possibly can reside with 128 GB should you do some housekeeping. The iPad Professional’s minimal storage is now 256 GB, however the beginning value for the M4 mannequin has now jumped to $999.As talked about above, there can be variations in USB switch speeds, too. Thunderbolt ports appears to be unique to the Professional line, and the iPad Air (2024) fashions nonetheless solely have USB 3.

Digital camera

Are tablets cameras?
Sometimes, you need two cameras on a pill — the selfie digicam for video calls, after which some sort of rear-facing digicam to scan paperwork or for some type of emergency “Hey, have a look at that” picture-taking.

The iPad Air and iPad Professional traces usually have a 12 MP selfie digicam with the ultra-wide lens that allows Heart Stage (the digicam follows your face mechanically), and a 12 MP fundamental digicam within the again, which is fairly usable.

The identical story repeats right here, although, the iPad Professional now has a brand new adaptive True Tone flash on the again, which is supposedly higher for balancing out colours when you find yourself taking pictures of paperwork particularly.

The iPad Professional M4 additionally has the LiDAR sensor on the again for higher accuracy in AR functions — one thing that hasn’t actually gone mainstream, however Apple hasn’t determined to axe it but. The identical cannot be mentioned in regards to the ultra-wide digicam — iPad Professionals used to have ultra-wide snappers, the 2024 fashions don’t.

Audio High quality

The iPad Air line has two audio system, positioned on the highest and backside of the pill — in any other case often known as “panorama stereo”, as they find yourself as left and proper audio system when watching motion pictures or YouTube movies. The iPad Professionals have quad audio system. We anticipate this setup to maintain being the identical for the long run generations.

In our expertise, the Air’s twin audio system are solely barely worse than the Professional. They sound a bit boxier, with a slight mid hump, and compress a bit extra at increased volumes, the place the quad audio system of the iPad Professionals discover it simpler to push air and sound a bit extra spatious. The distinction is there however shouldn’t be big, so the speaker setup won’t be a make or break right here.

Battery Life and Charging

iPads final
iPads, any mannequin iPad, typically give us round 10 hours of screen-on time. We have used the massive 12.9-inch iPad Professionals, the 11-inchers, the Airs, and the bottom iPads, and it is often the identical story. They’re reliable for a full day, until you need to play these shiny console-level video games or render 4K video on them, after all. For binging YouTube, for web-based work, and even music-based apps, they’ll simply get 10 hours of display time. For heavy workloads — you may get about 6 hours out of them nonetheless.Apple gives its battery info in watt-hours. Assuming the batteries inside are 3.77 V, this is how that interprets to the “mAh” capability spec that we’re all used to:

  • iPad Air M2 11″ – 28.93‐watt‐hour ~ 7,670 mAh
  • iPad Air M2 13″ – 36.59‐watt‐hour ~ 9,700 mAh
  • iPad Professional M4 11″ – 31.29-watt-hour ~ 8,300 mAh
  • iPad Professional M4 13″ – 38.99-watt-hour ~ 10,340 mAh

Specs Comparability

The iPad Air often vehicles a step behind the iPad Professional. So, it wasn’t a shock that the brand new Airs get the M2 chip. The shock was the M4 chip within the Professionals!

So, the iPad Air M2 (2024) is coming in as an iPad Professional (2022) alternative, kind of. You’ll nonetheless miss the 120 Hz show and, should you ask us, as soon as it launches — it will likely be higher to seek out an iPad Professional 11 (2022) at clearance costs somewhat than going for a brand new iPad Air.


So, does the iPad Air M2 exchange the iPad Professional M4? Not fully — the Professional line has the brand new design, Face ID, the brand new OLED panel, and that candy, candy 120 Hz refresh price going for it. Do these options warrant paying $400 extra for the entry mannequin, over the most cost effective iPad Air M2? Possibly not…

In reality, we sort of assume now’s the perfect time to purchase an iPad Professional (2022). Retailers will start clearing them out, and inventory will final for a few months — preserve a watch out for reductions! That’ll be a greater pill than the present iPad Air M2, and only a slight downgrade from the iPad Professional M4 (2024).

Yup, proper now, at this very second, your greatest choices are both to go all out and discover an outdated iPad Professional whereas they’re round, or go all out, purchase the most recent iPad Professional, and luxuriate in that OLED goodness. A number of months from now — that is when the iPad Air M2 can be a viable alternative. The outdated Professionals will merely be gone.

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