Apple Bites The Bullet With AI-Capable M4 Chip In New iPad Pro Devices

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At Apple’s May 7 ‘Let Loose’ event, Apple seized the moment to unveil a new generation of iPad Pro devices with M4 chips, a larger iPad Air and more affordable price points for existing models of its iPad.
The new iPad Pro comes in two sizes: a 13-inch and 11-inch model. A major update though is that Apple skipped the M3 chip and instead went straight for the AI-primed M4 chip in the new iPad Pro devices.

Both iPad Pro sizes have an Ultra Retina XDR display with OLED technology. The new iPad Pro supports 1000 nits of full-screen brightness for SDR and HDR content, and 1600 nits peak for HDR.

The new iPad Pro is the thinnest Apple product ever — the 11-inch model is 5.3 mm thin, and the 13-inch model comes in at 5.1 mm. The 11-inch model weighs less than 500 grams, and the 13-inch model is more than 100 grams lighter than its predecessor.

Screen updates aside, it’s the M4 chip that is grabbing the spotlight. The new CPU offers up to four performance cores and now six efficiency cores, with next-generation machine learning (ML) accelerators, to deliver up to 1.5x faster CPU performance over the M2 in the previous-generation iPad Pro. Apple says that compared to the M2, the M4 can deliver like-for-like levels of performance using just half the power, and compared to the latest PC chip in a thin and light laptop, the M4 can deliver the same performance using just a quarter of the power.

The new iPad Pro M4 is capable of 38 trillion operations per second, which is 60x faster than Apple’s first Neural Engine in the A11 Bionic chip. Apple says that the new processor comes with a 10-core CPU and a 10-core GPU and the chip’s GPU is 50 per cent faster than the M2 making the new iPad Pro “an outrageously powerful device for AI.”

Apple says that the new iPad Pro also supports cloud-based solutions, “enabling users to run powerful productivity and creative apps that tap into the power of AI, such as Copilot for Microsoft 365 and Adobe Firefly.”

The updated camera system on the new iPad Pro has a 12MP back camera. On the front, the TrueDepth camera system moves to the landscape location on the new iPad Pro. The Ultra Wide 12MP camera with Centre Stage facilitates activities such as video conferencing in landscape orientation.

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The iPad Pro supports Wi-Fi 6E. Wi-Fi. Cellular models of the new iPad Pro are activated with eSIMs.

Complementing the new iPad Pro Apple also unveiled all-new accessories including an Apple Pencil Pro and a new thinner, lighter Magic Keyboard. The Apple Pencil Pro has a new sensor in the barrel that can sense a user’s squeeze, bringing up a tool palette to quickly switch tools, line weights, and colours. A custom haptic engine delivers a light tap that provides confirmation when users squeeze, use double-tap, or snap to a Smart Shape.

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The new Magic Keyboard has a aluminium palm rest and larger trackpad that’s even more responsive with haptic feedback, bringing the experience of it closer to that of a MacBook. The machined aluminium hinge also includes a USB-C connector for charging. The new Magic Keyboard comes in two colours: black with a space black aluminium palm rest, and white with a silver aluminium palm rest.

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Moving beyond the iPad Pro ecosystem, Apple also used Tuesday’s event to unveil two new 2024 iPad Air models in options of a 13-inch version (the biggest iPad Air yet) and a new 11-inch model too. Both are fitted with Apple’s M2 chip. With 128GB of storage for the base model, the iPad Air gets double the starting storage of the 2022 Air.

Here in Australia, customers can order the new iPad Pro with M4 starting May 8 from Apple’s websites and at Apple stores across the country from May 15. The new 11-inch and 13-inch iPad Pro are available in 256GB, 512GB, 1TB, and 2TB configurations.

The 11-inch iPad Pro starts at A$1,699 for the Wi-Fi model, and A$2,049 for the Wi-Fi + Cellular model. The 13-inch iPad Pro starts at A$2,199 for the Wi-Fi model, and A$2,549 for the Wi-Fi + Cellular model. The new Apple Pencil Pro is available for A$219 while the new 11-inch Magic Keyboard is available for A$499 and the new 13-inch Magic Keyboard for A$579. The new 11-inch iPad Air meanwhile starts from A$999 and the 13-inch model from A$1,299 – both available in versions ranging from 128GB-1TB.

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