M4 iPad Pro vs M2 iPad Air

The iPad Pro 2024 improves performance as the first Apple device with the M4 chip. And Apple’s new mid-range tablet is the iPad Air M2, available in two sizes for the first time. So what’s different between these 2024 iPads and is the high end worth the extra money? Here’s our detailed look at the iPad Pro M4 vs. the iPad Air M2.

The 2022 iPad Air 5 with M1 blurred the line between mid- and high-end iPads, prompting many to buy the Air that started $200 (or more) below the $799 11-inch iPad Pro.

Now the 2024 iPad Air M2 (6th generation) lineup offers even more choice and power than the iPad Air M1.

However, the new iPad Air models contrast with the M4 iPad Pro devices – but they are more expensive this year with starting prices of $999 and $1,299 – making the difference between an iPad Air and a Pro of $300 to $400.

iPad Pro M4 vs. iPad Air M2


The big performance difference between the new iPad Pro and Air is due to the M4 chip upgrade. Apple claims it offers an up to 50% faster CPU, 4x faster GPU, and an increase in memory bandwidth from 100 GB/s to 120 GB/s compared to the M2.

iPad Pro M4 performance compared to iPad Air M2
image via Apple

The new GPU comes with a media engine that offers hardware-accelerated 8K H.264, HEVC, ProRes, and ProRes RAW support, joining the Mac as a device capable of handling 8K video.

Other new features include 38 trillion operations per second with the M4 Neural Engine, hardware-accelerated ray tracing, and much more.

Note: iPad Pro models with 128, 256, and 512 GB of storage have 8 GB of RAM, 1 TB and 2 TB models have 16 GB of RAM.

iPad Pro 11″ M4 iPad Air 11″ M2 iPad Pro 13″ M4 iPad Air 13″ M2
Chip M4 M2 M4 M2
CPU 9 or 10 cores 8 hearts 9 or 10 cores 8 hearts
GPU 10 hearts 10 hearts 10 hearts 10 hearts
Support 8K H.264, HEVC, ProRes and ProRes RAW with hardware acceleration
Hardware-accelerated H.264 and HEVC
Hardware-accelerated ray tracing
Neural engine 16 hearts 16 hearts 16 hearts 16 hearts
Storage 256 GB – 2 TB 128 GB – 1 TB 256 GB – 2 TB 128 GB – 1 TB
RAM 8 or 16 GB 8 GB 8 or 16 GB 8 GB
Memory bandwidth 120 GB/s 100 GB/s 120 GB/s 100 GB/s
Thunderbolt/USB 4
USB-C 3.1 Gen 2 only
Cellular 5G (sub-6 GHz) 5G (sub-6 GHz) 5G (sub-6 GHz) 5G (sub-6 GHz)

Other upgrades to the Pro are Thunderbolt/USB 4 and hardware-accelerated ray tracing.

One of the losses is mmWave connectivity for 5G with the 2024 iPad Pro models (the 2022 versions had it). This matches the 5G radio on the iPad Air 2024.


New iPad Pro M4 models outperform iPad Air with new ‘Ultra Retina XDR display’.

It is the first to use Tandem OLED compared to the Liquid Retina display which uses LEDs in the iPad Air M2 devices.

iPad Pro M4 screen vs. iPad Air M2
image via Apple

Apple says the benefits of the new OLED display are brighter specular highlights, deeper true blacks, better detail in shadows and low light, and much more.

The smaller and larger iPad Pro features the new OLED display and you can also now upgrade the 1TB or 2TB iPad Pro M4 with nano-textured display glass.

You also get brighter SDR content up to 1,000 nits with M4 iPad Pro models (600 nits for M2 iPad Pro SDR content). That’s 2x brighter than the 500 nits of SDR with the iPad Air.

iPad Pro 11″ M4 iPad Air 11″ M2 iPad Pro 13″ M4 iPad Air 13″ M2
Display 11″ OLED 10.86″ LED 13″ OLED 12.9″ LED
Resolution 2420×1668 2360×1640 2752×2064 2732×2048
PPI (pixels per inch) 264 264 264 264
Screen brightness 1000 nits SDR, 1000 nits maximum full-screen XDR, 1600 nits peak (HDR only) 500 nits brightness for SDR 1000 nits SDR, 1000 nits maximum full-screen XDR, 1600 nits peak (HDR only) 500 nits brightness for SDR
True tone
Wide Color P3
Promotion (120 Hz)
Anti-glare and fingerprint-resistant coating
Fully laminated screen
Nano-textured display glass Optional on 1TB and 2TB models Optional on 1TB and 2TB models
Liquid Retina Display
Ultra Retina XDR display
Overview of the Apple Pencil

Display features shared across all iPad Pro M4 and iPad Air M2 models include P3 Wide Colors, Fully Laminated Displays, Anti-Glare Coating, Apple Pencil Hover, and True Tone.

Design, dimensions, weight, colors

iPad Pro M4 vs. iPad Air M2 Design
image via Apple

The iPad Pro M4 is the “thinnest product ever created by Apple” with 5.1 mm for the 13″ model and 5.3 mm for the 11″ version.

Along with this, the new iPad Pro M4 is lighter than ever, less than 1 pound for the 11″ and 1.28 pounds for the 13″.

This is ironic since the “Air” version of Apple’s iPad and Mac generally claim the title of thinnest and lightest.

iPad Pro 11″ M4 iPad Air 11″ M2 iPad Pro 13″ M4 iPad Air 13″ M2
Height 9.83 inches (249.7 mm) 9.74 inches (247.6 mm) 11.09 inches (281.6 mm) 11.04 inches (280.6 mm)
Width 6.99 inches (177.5 mm) 7.02 inches (178.5 mm) 8.48 inches (215.5 mm) 8.46 inches (214.9 mm)
Depth 0.21 inch (5.3 mm) 0.24 inch (6.1mm) 0.20 inch (5.1 mm) 0.24 inch (6.1mm)
Weight 0.98 pounds (446 grams) 1.02 pounds (462 grams) 1.28 pounds (582 grams) 1.36 pounds (618 grams)

New this time is the Space Black finish replacing Space Gray for the iPad Pro M4, while silver remains the other choice.

Meanwhile, the iPad Air M2 comes in four color choices: Space Gray, Starlight, Blue, and Purple.

iPad Air M2 colors via Apple

Connectivity and accessories

The new iPad Pro and Air models work with the same type of Apple accessories. These come in the form of a new Magic Keyboard and Apple Pencil Pro – or you can opt for the mid-range Apple Pencil with USB-C.

iPad Pro M4 vs iPad Air M2 Accessories
image via Apple

Other major I/O upgrades with the iPad Pro are Face ID and Thunderbolt connectivity.

iPad Pro M4 11 and 13″ iPad Air M2 11 and 13″
Apple Pencil Pro support
Support for Apple Pencil generation 2
Apple Pencil USB-C
Magic keyboard support
5G ✅ (sub-6Ghz) ✅ (sub-6Ghz)
Wi-Fi 6E
SIM card eSIM only eSIM and nano-SIM
Bluetooth 5.3 5.3
USB-C ✅USB4 ✅USB 3.1 Generation 2
Face ID
Touch identification
image via Apple

Beyond the drop in mmWave for 5G, the M4 iPad Pro and M2 iPad Air devices also only have an eSIM, no physical nano-SIM slot.

Battery life

The 2024 iPad Pro and Air models have the same battery life as previous iPads:

  • 10 hours of web or video use over WiFi
  • 9 hours of web use with cell phone

Storage and prices

Storage has been updated with the iPad Pro M4 starting with 256GB and going up to 2TB models. And nano-textured glass is another $100 upgrade.

Storage is also increased for the iPad Air M2, starting at 64GB and going up to 1TB.

iPad Pro 11″ M4 iPad Air 11″ M2 iPad Pro 13″ M4 iPad Air 13″ M2
128 GB of Wi-Fi $599 $799
128 GB + cell $749 $949
256 GB of Wi-Fi $999 $699 $1,299 $899
256 GB + cell $1,199 $849 $1,499 $1,049
512 GB Wi-Fi $1,199 $899 $1,499 $1,099
512 GB + cell $1,399 $1,049 $1,699 $1,249
1TB of Wi-Fi $1,599 $1,099 $1,899 $1,299
1 TB + cell $1,799 $1,249 $2,099 $1,449
2TB Wi-Fi $1,999 $2,299
2 TB + cell $2,199 $2,499

Cameras, video and audio

iPad Pro M4 vs iPad Air M2 Cameras
iPad Pro M4 rear camera image via Apple

On the M4 iPad Pro rear camera system, you get a 12 MP wide lens, LiDAR scanner, and Retina flash with True Tone.

Interestingly, the iPad Pro M4 ditched the 10MP ultrawide lens of the iPad Pro M2. This means that the iPad Pro M4 and iPad Air M2 are more similar in terms of camera capabilities.

On the front, you get a 12 MP ultra-wide lens with Center Stage support that is now centered on the long edge of the landscape instead of the short edge with the iPad Pro 2024 M4 models.

iPad Pro M4 11 and 13″ iPad Air M2 11 and 13″
12MP wide lens
10MP ultra-wide lens
4K video
ProRes video up to 4K 30fps
Wide dynamic range
Slow motion video
Rear camera flash
TrueDepth with Face ID ✅ (landscape border)
12 MP ultra-wide front camera ✅ (landscape border) ✅ (landscape border)
2x optical zoom
HDR 4 Smart Photos
Auto tracking on center stage
4-speaker audio
Stereo recording
Studio quality microphones 4
Standard microphones 2

Conclusion iPad Pro M4 vs iPad Air M2

Conclusion iPad Pro M4 vs iPad Air M2
image via Apple

Why buy an iPad Pro M4?

When choosing between the iPad Pro M4 and iPad Air M2, it may make more sense to buy the new model only if you’re a pro or aspiring pro with workflows that will benefit from the M4 chip. Or you’re totally fine spending money on the latest and greatest from Apple 😁.

Upgrades include the new OLED display with a nano-texture option and higher brightness, higher top storage, Thunderbolt, a more powerful chip, and a slimmer design.

The iPad Pro M4 is available at Apple, Amazon, soon Best Buy and more.

Why buy an iPad Air M2?

When you can get many of the basic features of the iPad Pro M4 with the iPad Air M2 and the processor difference isn’t a limiting factor for many users, saving some money might be a good thing. Or you can keep your current iPad.

Plus, at a discounted price, the iPad Air M1 is a great choice for people with light to medium workflows or occasional use. It has many great features of the modern iPad Air/Pro M2 and the same design.

Thanks for reading our guide on iPad Pro M4 vs iPad Air M2

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