Apple’s 2024 M4 iPad Pro has ditched the LCD for OLED displays. What else is new?

The 7th-generation Apple iPad Pro with M4 chipset represents some of the biggest updates to the iPad Pro series. Still no MacOS though.

Apple’s 2024 M4 iPad Pro has ditched the LCD for OLED displays. What else is new?
Image Credits: Apple

Apple just redefined the "Pro" experience in tablets. At its "Let Loose" event on Tuesday, they unveiled the new iPad Pro, featuring a breathtaking OLED display with a breakthrough called "tandem OLED" in both 11-inch and 13-inch sizes. This marks a shift from previous iPad Pro size options. It also packs a powerful M4 chip built on cutting-edge 3-nanometer technology.

The iPad Pro wasn’t the only device that got a makeover! New iPad Air models with a refreshed Magic Keyboard, exciting upgrades, and a fresh suite of accessories rounded out the launch. But obviously, the real star of the show was the next-gen iPad Pro. It's a portable powerhouse built for creators, power users, and everyone who wants a tablet that screams, "I mean business...and looks incredible doing it."

Apple has long pushed the iPad Pro as a laptop replacement, and CEO Tim Cook even called this "the biggest day for iPad since its introduction." 

Can the new upgrades finally bridge the gap and push the iPad out of the MacBook's shadow?

Let’s take a closer look at the upgraded features.

The OLED Revolution

Apple calls its groundbreaking new display "Ultra Retina XDR". Let's break down what that means for you. First, those 1000 nits of brightness aren't just about the eye-piercing intensity. Artists working on colour-sensitive projects will see details emerge from shadows with unparalleled accuracy. Gamers and movie fans will experience content that look closer to real life than ever before.

Beyond brightness, the tandem OLED construction allows for sub-millisecond control of each pixel's colour and luminance. This translates to incredibly detailed shadows, super smooth motion without distracting blurs, and perfect blacks for an immersive, cinematic experience – even when you're in motion.

This high precision also results in a stunningly high contrast ratio, creating incredible depth and making images look almost three-dimensional. For artists, photographers, and anyone demanding colour accuracy, this is a game-changer. And if you're used to high-refresh-rate screens on gaming phones, imagine that fluidity across everything you do on your iPad Pro.

The iPad Pro Ultra Retina XDR display | Apple

The M4 Power chip

Powering this visual revolution is Apple's new M4 chip. It delivers up to 50% faster CPU performance than previous iPad Pro models, along with graphics that are up to 4 times faster. This means your creative workflows will flow effortlessly.  Whether editing high-resolution photos, tackling complex 3D models, or running your favourite demanding apps, the M4 chip ensures a smooth, responsive experience.

But power isn't everything. With an improved thermal design, the M4 maintains peak performance for longer periods – even when you're pushing the iPad Pro to its limits. Say goodbye to frustrating slowdowns in the middle of your creative projects.

The M4 chip also unlocks exciting AI features that streamline your workflow, saving you time and effort. And for any sceptics worried about a tablet's power, be rest assured: this iPad Pro rivals the performance of many laptops. While software compatibility remains a factor, its raw capabilities open new possibilities for mobile productivity.

The M4 chipset blueprint | Apple

Pro Accessories

The new iPad Pros are also getting an accessory refresh. The Magic Keyboard has been given a more premium finish with an aluminium palm rest, and it now has a function key row. The Apple Pencil Pro now supports squeeze gestures and Find My location tracking. And it contains a gyroscope, which allows artists to roll their brush when drawing. Similar to Microsoft’s Surface Pen, the Apple Pencil Pro also now includes haptic feedback.

There's a lot of room for customization on the iPad Pro now, especially with the added accessories. The 13-inch M4 iPad Pro starts at $1,299. If you want a true laptop replacement experience, adding the new Magic Keyboard ($349) brings the price closer to the M3 MacBook Pro's $1,599 tag.

Pencil Pro Features | Apple
Magic Keyboard | Apple

Pro Connectivity

While the new iPad Pro M4 is incredibly thin and portable, this sleek design comes with a connectivity compromise. Unlike a MacBook with multiple USB-C Thunderbolt ports, HDMI, and SDXC card slot, the iPad is more limited. It features a single USB-C Thunderbolt port, with the Magic Keyboard adding one additional port primarily for charging.

This doesn't mean the iPad is without options. USB-C hubs offer a solution for expanding connectivity, allowing you to connect external displays, peripherals, and storage devices. This can be less convenient when compared to a MacBook's built-in ports, but its versatility is still valuable for many.

M4 iPad Pro Camera is not designed for photography

The new iPad Pro streamlines its camera system. While it lacks the Ultra Wide camera of previous models, it retains a powerful 12MP Wide rear camera and four microphones, well-suited for everyday recording needs.

The real focus, however, is on the Adaptive True Tone Flash feature. Optimised for documents, it automatically captures multiple shots, cleverly removing shadows for the perfect digital copy.

12MP Camera

The focus on specific features suggests Apple is tailoring the iPad Pro experience to core use cases. Professionals who often scan documents might find this setup ideal, while those who rely on Ultra Wide photography might still prefer their iPhones or dedicated cameras.

The evolution of the iPad Pro camera suggests that Apple might be killing the ultra-wide camera

The iPad OS leaves room to grow

Rumours of a "smaller macOS" for the iPad Pro have been swirling for a while, and for good reason. Imagine the M4 chip unleashed with the full power of macOS. For many, this would be a take-all-my-money moment that would unlock the iPad Pro's full potential as a versatile hybrid device. Here’s why we think so:

Potential Benefits of macOS: Beyond iPadOS

  • While iPadOS has many powerful apps, have you pictured running your favourite desktop apps – Photoshop, Final Cut Pro, even pro-level development tools – directly on your iPad Pro? The macOS would bring an end to the workarounds and compromises.
  • You would also get to multitask freely on your iPad Pro. The full flexibility of accommodating complex workflows, like window resizing and arrangement that macOS is known for.
  • If you're used to the desktop-like file management of macOS, you might find iPadOS's system more limiting. macOS on the iPad Pro could offer greater control, making it easier to handle large projects and extensive libraries with intricate organisation.

iPadOS 18 is expected to bring new AI features to the iPad and hopefully improve navigation, file management, and other everyday tasks. While iPadOS is excellent for everyday tasks, seasoned tech consumers know the feeling of wanting just a bit more from their device. 

macOS on the iPad Pro could bridge that gap. It would elevate the iPad Pro from a powerful tablet to a true workstation rivalling laptops. And wouldn't that make owning one even more tempting?

iPadOS 18 Features

The Price of Innovation

This level of visual mastery and computing power doesn't come cheap. The new iPad Pro pushes boundaries, and that includes the price tag. The base models start at $999 (11-inch) and $1,299 (13-inch), a significant increase even from previous iPad Pro prices. And keep in mind, the MacBook Pro offers 512GB of storage by default, while the iPad Pro starts at 256GB. Upgrading the iPad Pro to match that capacity adds another $200.

Bottom Line: The iPad Pro's higher price is justified for certain users. If you prioritise a modular design, superior display, Apple Pencil support, and powerful performance, the iPad Pro offers value that a MacBook can't. The key is to assess your individual needs and the apps you rely upon.


Customers can order the new iPad Pro with M4 today online and in the Apple Store app, with in-store availability beginning Wednesday, May 15th. It comes in silver and space black finishes, with storage options from 256GB to 2TB.

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