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iPad Pro M4 2024

There are still limitations, but within this specific framework, this is the best iPad ever.

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I'm already quite an avid iPad user. It's perhaps important to make that clear from the outset. I use it as a pretty crucial second screen in my current set-up at work, where I store notes, article ideas and quirky observations, I scribble on it with an Apple Pencil both alone and in the company of my almost four-year-old son, and I often find myself going to an event or meeting with just an iPad under my arm.

Not everyone feels this way, and that's okay. Apple's restrictive approach to functionality, even after the introduction of iPadOS, means that while there's a lot of horsepower under the bonnet, only a specific user can get anything out of it.

The latest iPad Pro is still an iPad. It runs the exact same version of iPadOS as previous iPads, and there isn't a key new addition that transforms the way you use it, charge it, or consume content. This is an iPad, but it's also the best iPad ever - how you weigh the two conclusions against each other depends entirely on your subjective usage patterns and work rhythm.

iPad Pro 2024

The latest iPad Pro is Apple's thinnest device ever with a thickness of just 5.1 millimetres. That's without compromising on battery life, which is virtually identical to the latest M2 model. That's pretty impressive, but at the same time, I have to say that battery life is still the biggest complaint. You get maybe 10, or more likely eight hours of actual use, and it's shortened by having to maintain both an Apple Pencil Pro and a Magic Keyboard. It's not bad, but it doesn't match the battery life we expect from either our iPhones or our MacBooks.

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The thickness is really impressive and it feels almost impossibly constructed when you hold it in your hand. This time it also feels significantly lighter, and there's also a 100 gram weight saving. The point is it's noticeable and the new model feels more premium, more distinct, more Apple. The stereo speakers are still brilliant, the USB-C port on the bottom is Thunderbolt 3, there's Bluetooth 5.3, WI-FI 6E and 5G capability - there's nothing missing, but there's no major news here either. The camera is even largely unchanged, offering 12 megapixels on one sensor, as well as a TOF 3D LiDAR sensor that makes it easier to work with depth-based scans.

Fortunately, there is something new under the hood - the new M4 chip. Yes, Apple isn't done introducing the M3 to their entire lineup, and now we've already moved on. The M4 consists of either a 9 or 10-core 4.4GHz CPU and a 10-core GPU. They promise 1.2 times faster bandwidth compared to the previous iPad Pro with M2, as well as a 1.5 times faster CPU and up to four times better professional rendering, all without sacrificing heat, noise or battery life. It seems that 'performance-per-watt' has become Apple's key communication parameter, and it's easy to understand why. The point is that the new M4, which also has a 16-core Neural Engine, is a beast, and compared to what most people use iPads for, even those who use them professionally (like myself), this is more than enough to ensure silky smooth performance throughout.

iPad Pro 2024

There is one new addition in the new M4 that is specific to this iPad, and that is a brand new Display Engine. This is specifically designed to drive the new Tandem OLED panel, which is basically two separate OLED panels on top of each other, a technology Apple has dubbed Ultra Retina XDR. This results in a 120Hz OLED panel that peaks at over 1600 NITS, can maintain 1000 NITS and runs at 1668x2420. Needless to say, this results in one of the sharpest images you can get - ever, and it's truly a feast for the eyes whether you're watching Netflix, playing Kingdom Rush or just navigating the interface. We were also given a device with 'Nano-texture display glass', which is an anti-glare layer that spoils some depth and contrast, but can have a positive effect if the lighting conditions in a workplace are intense.

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In addition, we have some small but noticeable improvements to the user experience. The camera has finally been moved to the long side, which makes FaceID and FaceTime meetings much easier, the iPad Pro now starts at 256GB of space, and then of course there's the new Apple Pencil Pro and Magic Keyboard. Both the Pencil and Magic Keyboard are downright excellent and will get separate reviews on this site, though you can hear the headlines by watching the three iPad, Pencil and keyboard videos below.

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For me, this is the best iPad to date. It's the most complete, best constructed and well-functioning tablet I've ever used. However, even I am missing one more groundbreaking new feature. For example, I was hoping for MagSafe charging, but others were also hoping to see some kind of dock that could turn your iPad into a Pixel Tablet-style smart home centre. There was none of that, and the iPad Pro 2024 remains 'just' an iPad, even though it's the best iPad ever.

09 Gamereactor UK
9 / 10
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