The 2024 iPad Pro is the best tablet around (I just wish it were the best portable computing device around)

The new iPad Pro M4

The 2024 iPad Pro is the best tablet around; I just wish it were the best portable computing device around. I’ve been using mine for five days now and love it. I just don’t love it as much as I love my MacBook Pro.

The Ultra Retina XDR display

Apple says the new iPad Pro’s Ultra Retina XDR is the “world’s most advanced display” and I won’t argue. It’s stunning.

It boasts state-of-the-art tandem OLED technology that uses two OLED panels and combines the light from both to provide glorious full-screen brightness. What’s more, the new iPad Pro supports an incredible 1000 nits of full-screen brightness for SDR and HDR content, and 1600 nits peak for HDR. 

The iPad boasts adaptive refresh rates that go down to 10Hz and all the way up to 120Hz, which is plenty for what you’re going to be using the iPad for, including serious gaming.

I bought the iPad Pro with a standard display, not the nano-texture option as I rarely use the tablet in bright sunlight. If you do, you might consider splurging an extra hundred bucks for the non-texture screen.

The M4

The high end models of the new iPad Pro pack the M4 processor, a beast of a chip that offers more power than most folks will need. It’s built on second-generation 3-nanometer technology that’s even more power efficient. The new CPU offers up to four performance cores and now six efficiency cores, with next-generation machine learning (ML) accelerators, to deliver up to (per Apple) 1.5x faster CPU performance over M2 in the previous-generation iPad Pro.

Apple has announced M4, its latest chip. It’s built using second-generation 3-nanometer technology. M4 is a system on a chip (SoC).

The M4 builds on the GPU architecture of M3 — the 10-core GPU includes features like Dynamic Caching, and hardware-accelerated mesh shading and ray tracing, which come to iPad for the first time. For comparison’s sack, The iPad Pro M4 benchmarks show that the new iPad nearly triples the score of the Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra with Snapdragon 8 Gen in the Geekbench multi-core test. Its score even beats the Dell XPS 16 with an Intel Core Ultra 7 chip.  

Cellular support

Besides the display and the sheer computing power, one of my favorite features of the new iPad Pro is its cellular support. If I’m traveling and I need to put up a quick post at Apple World Today, I can use the tablet to do so. For example, on a recent trip to Utah, there was a long stretch of driving in which I wished I could check my email and perhaps post something on AWT. 

If I’d had a cellular iPad Pro with me, I could have swapped out driving with my lovely wife and did a little work. Of course, an even better scenario would be adding cellular support to the MacBook Pro, but that doesn’t look to be happening anytime soon.

Other things I like

The new iPad Pro is the thinnest Apple product ever. The 11-inch model is just 5.3 mm thin, and the 13-inch model (which I purchased) is even thinner at 5.1 mm. The 11-inch model weighs less than a pound, and the 13-inch model is nearly a quarter pound lighter than its predecessor.

Despite this, the new iPad Pros seem quite durable. In an interview with Arun Maini, Apple’s senior vice president of hardware engineering John Ternus reveals that Apple has added a new protective “cowling” over the main logic board. This metal cover not only helps with heat dissipation, but also “effectively creates a central rib that runs through the whole thing and tremendously improves the stiffness of the products,” according to Ternus.

Also, you can order some models of the new iPad Pro with up to 2TB of storage. That will come in handy for folks using the tablet as their main computing device.

Apple finally put the front-facing camera in the middle of the long side of the iPad. This makes perfect since as the tablet is a landscape-first device.


Despite the stunning display and incredible power under the hood, the 2024 iPad Pro gets, on average, a decent 10 hours of power before needing recharging.

The downsides

First off, let’s address the issue that has been widely debated: iPadOS. Apple’s tablet operating system simply doesn’t have the necessary features to make it my main work machine. 

For a great overview of those limitations, read this in-depth article by Federico Viticci. And, as Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman tweets, “the iPad Pro hardware has always been state of the art with intentionally throttled software to not displace the Mac. Until that changes, the product doesn’t change.”

When it comes to my workflow, the main area where the iPad falls flat is in multitasking. I always have Safari, Mail, Pages, Pixelmator Pro, and Messages up and running in my daily work. Sometimes I have Apple Music playing in the background.

Apple will bring recent iOS changes for apps to iPadOS this fall to comply with the DMA.

iPadOS’ Stage Manager is Apple’s idea of multitasking on the Mac, but it falls way short of multitasking on the Mac. Stage Manager puts the app you’re using front and center and then spreads out the other open apps in the background off to the left. This does make it easy to switch between them, but if you want to run two apps side by side, you have to turn Stage Manager off (in Control Panel) and use Split View. 

That’s not intuitive. But multitasking on the Mac IS intuitive. Perhaps we’ll see some major enhancements announced for iPadOS at next month’s Worldwide Developer Conference.

Lets move on to some of the other complaints about the new iPad Pro — and if they’re valid. Some folks have griped that the new tablets don’t support always-on display functionality that Apple introduced with the iPhone 14 Pro. I don’t find this a problem; I can’t imagine a scenario where I need my iPad Pro display to always be on.

The new iPad Pro has four “studio-quality” (Apple’s words) microphones, though the previous model packed five. This has no effect on the ways I use the tablet, but folks who, for instance, are professional podcasters might disagree.

An exclusive report by iMore says that the new 11-inch and 13-inch iPad Pros with M4 chips and OLED displays have a problem when it comes to viewing HDR content. I haven’t noticed such an issue, but Apple is reportedly working on a software update that will address the issue.

There was speculation that the new iPads would support MagSafe charging, which would have been cool, but that didn’t happen. Likely there are technical reasons for not adding this feature, but it’s a little disappointing,

There’s still a single USB/Thunderbolt 4 port, which is a disadvantage if you’re using the tablet as your main computing device. You’ll have to connect an external device and charge the iPad unless you use a powered dock or are using a plugged-in Magic Keyboard.

Finally, as I’ve said before, I want the ability to use an Apple Vision Pro as an external display for my iPad. You can do this with a Mac, so why not with Apple’s tablet?

The new iPad Pro is a fantastic computer in a shockingly slim design. But it could be so much more if iPadOS would mature into the operating system it needs to be.

Apple World Today rating (out of 5 stars): ★★★★

I hope that you’ll consider becoming a patron of Apple World Today. Prices range from $2 a month to $10 a month. You can sign up here. Thanks in advance for your support.

Dennis Sellers
the authorDennis Sellers
Dennis Sellers is the editor/publisher of Apple World Today. He’s been an “Apple journalist” since 1995 (starting with the first big Apple news site, MacCentral). He loves to read, run, play sports, and watch movies.