Apple’s Thinnest iPad Pros Are Also The Most Powerful iPad Pros Ever

Hopefully they don’t bend or overheat.

Originally Published: 
A hand presents the side profile of an ultra-thin laptop against a blurred blue background with soft...

After going all of 2023 without releasing a single new iPad, Apple on Tuesday announced new iPad Pros, alongside an Apple Pencil Pro, a thinner and lighter Magic Keyboard, and revamped iPad Airs (including a new 13-inch model).

There’s a lot to unpack for the new iPad Pros. They’re Apple’s “thinnest” devices ever. The displays are OLED (finally!). They are powered by a new M4 chip (yes, even though the M3 chips were just announced a few months ago for the new MacBook Airs) with the most powerful Neural Engine Apple has ever made. The base storage has doubled from 128GB to 256GB. And, there’s a Space Black model!

Apple pulled out all the stops to make these new iPad Pros even more “pro.” The downside is that both iPad Pros start at $200 more than before: $799 for the 11-inch iPad Pro and $1,299 for the 13-inch.

The Thinnest Apple Device Ever

The thickness of the new 11-inch iPad Pro and 13-inch iPad Pro.


Apple is touting the new iPad Pros as the thinnest devices it’s ever made. The 11-inch iPad Pro measures 5.3mm thick and the 13-inch is somehow even thinner at 5.1mm; the last iPod nano was 5.4mm (and that had a headphone jack!).

It’s not just thinness — the new iPad Pros are lighter than the previous M2 iPad Pros released in 2022 at 0.98 lb (11-inch) and 1.2 lbs (13-inch). I joked on X that former Apple chief design officer Jony Ive was back given that he loved to make devices as thin as possible, even at the expense of functionality. But in all seriousness, I love this diet that Apple has put the iPad Pros on; I own a 13-inch M1 iPad Pro and I hate how thick and heavy it is, especially when paired with a Magic Keyboard. The entire setup is heavier than a MacBook Air and nearing the weight of my 14-inch MacBook Pro.

As part of the revamp, Apple moved the FaceTime camera to the landscape side of the device, with support for Center Stage, the feature that keeps a person talking in frame. This is a change that should have happened years ago when Apple first made the selfie camera adjustment to the 10th-gen iPad.

Ultra Retina XDR Display Using OLED

The new iPad Pros have OLED screens for the first time.


Previously, the iPad Pros used mini-LED display technology to achieve deep blacks and high brightness for HDR content. The problem with mini-LED was that blooming (the glow around bright pixels) was an ongoing problem against dark backgrounds. OLED displays have no such problems because the pixels are physically off when they display as black; they aren’t impacted by the pixels around them.

So Apple finally switched to OLED for the new iPad Pros. Excuse me, the display is called an Ultra Retina XDR display using “tandem OLED technology.” Tech jargon aside, you just need to know that the screens on the iPad Pros are stupid bright: 1,000 nits of brightness for SDR and HDR content and 1,600 nits for HDR. That translates to content with increased contrast, more vibrant colors, and greater brightness. The screen can also be put into a “reference mode” so professionals can better color-match content on the iPad Pro to their other screens.

And for the first time, there’s a “nano-texture” display option, which is the matte, anti-glare screen that Apple has offered for its Pro Display XDR and Apple Studio Displays. You won’t get the same vibrancy as the glossy screen, but if you prefer reduced reflections, at least there’s now an option without having to apply a third-party screen protector.

From M2 to M4 Chip

Power. So much power in the M4 chip.


The biggest surprise has to be the Apple silicon that powers the new iPad Pros. The last iPad Pros used an M2 chip and since Apple recently revealed the M3 chips for the MacBook Airs, we all expected the same chip in the new iPad Pros. We were wrong — Apple is jumping ahead to the M4 chip. Apple claims the chip leap was necessary to power the Ultra Retina XDR display and offer next-generation CPU, GPU, and Neural Engine performance.

According to Apple, the 10-core CPU in the M4 chip is up to 50 percent faster than the CPU in the M2 chip; the 10-core GPU is up to 4x faster than the GPU in the M2 and supports desktop-class features such as Dynamic Caching and ray tracing that benefit gaming; and the 16-core Neural Engine is up to 60 faster than the first Neural Engine in the A11 Bionic chip (no specs for how the Neural Engine compares to the one in the M1, M2, or M3 chips, though).

One other impressive claim: the M4 chip delivers the same performance as the M2 chip but with 50 percent less power consumption. Apple says it’s included graphite sheets inside of the iPad Pro bodies and copper in the Apple logo to reduce thermal performance by 20 percent. In other words, hopefully these iPad Pros don’t overheat under load.

New Magic Keyboard and Apple Pencil Pro

The new Magic Keyboard for the new iPad Pros


Alongside the new iPad Pros, Apple introduced the new Magic Keyboard ($299 for the 11-inch and $349 for the 13-inch) and Apple Pencil Pro ($129). The new Magic Keyboards are thinner and lighter than the previous bulky accessories; the palm rest is made of aluminum; the keyboards include a function row with shortcut buttons just like on a MacBook and they have a larger trackpad with haptic feedback.

All of the Apple Pencil Pro features in a single pic.


The Apple Pencil Pro also has a few new powers that the non-Pro Pencil doesn’t. There’s a sensor in the barrel of the Pencil that supports squeezes, rolls, and haptic feedback. Squeezing the Apple Pencil Pro lets you open up new tools in certain apps and rolling the Pencil allows for more dimension, like “changing the orientation of a shaped pen or brush.” The Apple Pencil Pro also has built-in Find My so you can locate it if you ever misplace it. And don’t you worry, it charges magnetically when attached to the landscape side of the iPad Pros.

Colors, Storage, and Release Date

Both models start at $200 more than before.


The iPad Pros are available for order today and ship next week. Both 11- and 13-inch iPad Pros come in silver or Space Black. (Note how the camera bump is now matte and no longer glossy!) The iPad Pros come with double the previous base storage, starting at 256GB and spec up to 2TB.

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