HomeBussinessApple updates iPad line and introduces new M4 chip

Apple updates iPad line and introduces new M4 chip


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Apple unveiled its first new iPads since 2022 at an event that went big on display technology and touted Apple’s future AI capabilities.

The tech giant introduced two new iPad Pro tablets and two iPad Air devices that are more powerful than existing offerings and bring new features to the line-up.

But it was the announcement of the M4 chip for the iPad Pro that turned heads, leapfrogging the M3 that was only announced last year.

Billing it as an “outrageously powerful chip for AI”, Apple’s vice-president of platform architecture Tim Millet, said M4 was a “big step forward” for Apple silicon, using more power-efficient technology. The chip will be used in the newly announced 11-inch and 13-inch iPad Pro devices.

The improved power and performance of the M4 can deliver the same performance as the M2 using half the power, Apple said.

“This event should be seen as a precursor to next month’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in terms of how Apple talks about AI,” said CCS Insight’s Ben Wood. “The question is how broadly it will introduce generative AI capability at WWDC and how it will address weaknesses in areas such as Siri.”

The latest version of the iPad Pro also comes with an OLED display, the first time the technology has been used in the iPad line.

Both models will have the new Ultra Retina XDR display, which uses two OLED panels and combines the light from both to deliver better images, a technology it calls tandem OLED. It is brighter and more responsive to content in motion, Apple said. The redesigned iPad Pro is thinner than the now-defunct iPad Nano.

“This truly is the biggest day for iPad since its introduction,” chief executive Tim Cook said. “There’s no other device like it.”

But at first glance, the prices may seem more expensive than the 2022 models, with the 11-inch starting at €1,229 and the 13-inch model at €1,579. This is largely due to Apple’s decision to increase the base storage, doubling the 128GB starting point to 256GB for the 2024 version.

Last year, a 256GB iPad Pro would have cost €1,209 for the 11-inch version, while the 13-inch device cost €1,609 – more expensive than the same storage for the new version.

This is the first event Apple has held this year. The iPad remains one of the top-selling tablets, but sales have faltered in the past two quarters.

“Although tablets are one of Apple’s less prominent products, the iPad generated $5.6 billion in revenue in the company’s most recent quarterly earnings, surpassing the total revenue of many rival device makers,” said Mr Wood. “However, given this was more than 15 per cent down year-on-year, Apple is undoubtedly keen to reinvigorate the category, particularly in the premium tier.”

Apple also showed off a redesigned Magic Keyboard intended to make the iPad more like a MacBook, and a new Pencil Pro designed to work with Apple’s high-end devices. The new Pencil supports new gestures, includes haptic feedback and a gyroscope to give more precise control over the on-screen tools.

Apple also debuted a new iPad Air, with a redesigned 11-inch version joined by the larger 13-inch version added to the line-up. It adds around 30 per cent to the display, giving more space for video, and moves the front-facing camera has to the landscape edge.

Both versions come with the M2 chip and support the Pencil Pro. Storage starts at 128GB – again, double its predecessor – but pricing remains largely the same for the 11-inch device.

Apple also reduced the price for the entry-level 10th-generation iPad, which it introduced in October 2022.

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