Apple iPad Pro M1 Review: The M1 Chip Really Makes a Difference?

iPad Pro M1

The newly introduced iPad Pro came with some new surprises for the Apple adepts. In hindsight, there isn’t much of a difference between the iPad Pro M1 and iPad Pro 2020.

The 2020 Pad model was considered the best tablet on the market that money can buy. The amazing speed, excellent battery life, the added mouse support, and LiDAR technology are just some of the fantastic features that users enjoyed from this Apple device. Could the M1 surpass what is an already excellent tablet?

All this begs the question, is the M1 chip going to be the deciding factor? Let’s look at both chipsets, and compare them to finally put the question to rest.

Design and Display

FeaturesM1 iPad Pro 12.9”A12Z iPad Pro 12.9”
Resolution2732×20482732×2048
Pixels per Inch264264
Display Brightness1600 nits600 nits
DisplayLiquid Retina XDRLiquid Retina

The largest display available on the new iPad 2021 has the same size as the one from 2020, 12.9 inches. The screen resolution has also been maintained the same at 2732 x 2048. The biggest change done to the screen has been the upgrade of the 12.9-inch model to a Liquid Retina XDR display. The year before it was only a Liquid Retina display.

The design of the M1 iPad has remained similar to the 2020 model, and little has been modified. The most notable is the addition of 0.5 mm to the newer model. The cameras seem to maintain the same quality with 12-megapixel capability and 10 megapixels on ultrawide mode. This means that the design maintains the same amount of cameras at the back. This includes the ones designed to support the LiDAR technology function, which is already an iPad staple feature. 

The newest iPad model, unlike the previous one, has different weights depending on whether it is a Wi-Fi or Wi-Fi + Cellular model. Both weights, also, slightly heavier than the 2020 iPad Pro. 

5G Connectivity

FeaturesM1 iPad Pro 12.9”A12Z iPad Pro 12.9”
Connectivity5G4G

The newest M1 iPad Pro has in-built 5G connectivity amongst its newest upgrades. This and the fact that the M1 iPad has a 2 Terabyte option could be the main reason for the price being $100 more expensive than the 2020 model.  

M1 Chipset

Both of the available iPad Pro models, the 12.9-inch and 11-inch, use the M1 native chipset. This chipset was first launched last year, 2020, with the MacBook lineup. M1 represents full independence for Apple, inc., as they would be using one hundred percent native technology to produce and design their high-end devices.

The first model that included the M1 chip, the MacBook Pro, showed incredible performance boost over the previous Intel models. It also showed great benchmark scores above many other devices in the market. 

Now, Apple wants to expand on the M1 chip series by including the iPad Pro into the spectrum of devices to be upgraded. 

Is the M1 Chipset a big difference from the new iPad Pro?

According to Apple, there is a big difference between what the M1 can do in comparison to the A12Z Bionic chipset of the previous iPad Pro model. The M1 chip offers up to 50% of faster performance than the A12Z. It also has managed to increase GPU performance by more than 40%. Both upgrades are outstanding, and the gap between both chipsets is almost unbelievable. 

Let’s not forget that the iPad has been designed for the A-series Bionic chipsets. Apple says that this fact makes the 2021 tablet perfectly optimized to transition into the M1 chipset. The 8-Core GPU together with the 16-core Apple Neural Engine, and an advanced image signal processor recently developed by Apple complete the dream team in coalition with the outstanding M1 chip.

The storage of the M1 chip is twice faster than that of the 2020 iPad Pro, with a Terabyte of extra storage. The reason behind the fast data transferability is due to the new addition of the Thunderbolt and USB 4 support.

The new RAM of a minimum of 8 GB and up to 16GB, must aid with the M1 chip performance. The A12Z model has only 6GB of RAM available.

Overall, the M1 chipset seems to surpass its predecessor, but does the performance score validate this?

Benchmark Scores

Since the M1 iPad Pro is still in its early stages, there aren’t a lot of benchmarks done to this day. More time will have to go by to truly assess the device’s performance under a variety of conditions and apps. 

Geekbench 5 Multi-core benchmark test should be a good indicator of what the power of the new iPad is. The score of the 2021 iPad Pro was an amazing 7,042. To compare, the 2020 iPad Pro scored only 4708, which was amazing in itself. This score gap seems to prove the 50% performance upgrade advertised by Apple.

Final Thoughts

So far all the data seems to hint that the M1 Chipset on the iPad Pro is truly an upgrade. The physical features, as well as the initial performance scores, are an early representation of the power boost that the newest chipset gives to the M1 iPad Pro. Looks like Apple has the new best tablet in the market in its hands once more.

About John Temple

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