M2 iPad Pro vs M1 iPad Pro: The only reason to upgrade isn’t the chip
October 27, 2022 October 27, 2022
Apple has updated the iPad Pro, its high-end tablet targeted toward professional users. For the most part, it’s the same tablet that was released in 2021, but it has a couple of key new features. Let’s take a look at how the iPad Pro 2022 compares to what it replaced, the iPad Pro 2021.
Apple didn’t change anything about the iPad Pro’s construction with the 2022 update. The company still offers two sizes: 11-inches and 12.9-inches. The 2022 and 2021 iPad Pros have the exact same dimensions, the same bezels, the same buttons, speakers, and microphone, and the same Silver and Space Gray color options. As with the old model, the iPad Pro does not support Touch ID in the power button. Instead, it is the only iPad to use Face ID.
For your reference, here are the measurements for the iPad Pro:
12.9-inch iPad Pro: 11.04 x 8.4 6 x 0.25 inches (280.6 x 214.9 x 6.4 millimeters); 1.5 pounds (682 grams) Wi-Fi model; 1.51 pounds (685 grams) WiFi + Cellular
11-inch iPad Pro: 9.74 x 7.02 x 0.23 inches (247.6 x 178.5 x 5.9 millimeters); 1.03 pounds (466 grams) Wi-Fi model; 1.04 pounds (470 grams) WiFi + Cellular
The iPad Pro is now in its fourth generation with the same design, which was introduced in 2018 at a special event in Brooklyn, N.Y. Apple did make one cosmetic change: the 2022 iPad Pro now has an “iPad Pro” label on the back. Previous models had only “iPad.”
iPad Pro (M2): Performance and features
Like the design, a lot of the features between the 2021 and 2022 iPad Pros are the same, but there are a couple of major updates in the new model.
This biggest upgrade in the new iPad Pro is the chip: the 2022 model has an M2 processor, which replaces the M1 that was used in the 2021 model. It’s the first tablet to have an M2 chip (the iPad Air still has an M1), and one of two Macs, the MacBook Air and the 13-inch MacBook Pro. The M2 is a powerful chip, with eight CPU cores divided into four performance cores and four efficiency cores. In our testing, the M2 is roughly 15 percent faster than the M1.
The M2 chip in the iPad Pro also has 10 GPU cores, an increase over the 8 GPU cores in the M1. In benchmarks, the M2 has about 30 percent better graphics performance improvement over the M1. The M2 also has an improved media engine that includes acceleration for ProRes video, and Apple says the M2 can transcode ProRes video three times faster than the M1. Apple also says the M2’s 16-core Neural Engine is 40 percent faster, and the 100Gbps of unified memory bandwidth provides a 50 percent boost.
The iPad Pro’s memory configuration has not changed. On models with 128GB, 256GB, or 512GB of storage, you get 8GB of unified memory, while the 1TB and 2TB models come with 16GB.
Apple Pencil Hover
This is the major change that users will immediately notice between the old and new iPad Pro. While both models support the 2nd-generation Apple Pencil, the 2022 model has a new feature Apple calls Hover. It’s an interesting new feature and probably the main reason people will upgrade.
The 2022 iPad Pro can sense the Pencil up to 12mm away from the screen, allowing users to preview a mark for greater precision before applying it. You can also perform adjustments, such as resizing a spot before placing it, and text fields expand with hover. And it works as a UI pointer so you don’t need to continually tap the screen to expand tabs and links.
Hover will not be available on older iPads, so if you are using this functionality and come to depend on it, you need to stick with M2 and newer iPad Pro models.
The iPad Pro continues to use USB-C (with Thunderbolt 4 support) for connecting a charger, hard drive, or other accessories. The 2022 iPad Pro also has Bluetooth 5.3, which is an upgrade over Bluetooth 5.0 in the 2021 model (though there’s no discernable difference yet). And the iPad Pro continues to have 5G connectivity (sub‑6 GHz and mmWave) as an option.
As for Wi-Fi, the 2022 iPad Pro supports Wi-Fi 6E, which allows the tablet to take advantage of the 1200MHz spectrum. You’ll need a Wi-Fi 6R router to take advantage of it, but it’s nice future-proofing over the Wi-Fi 6 2021 iPad Pro.
The 2021 and 2022 iPad Pro displays are identical. That means the 12.9-inch iPad Pro has a Liquid Retina XDR display with mini-LED technology, while the 11-inch iPad Pro has an LED Liquid Retina display. Both have ProMotion, but the 12.9-inch model is superior with 1600 nits peak brightness when viewing HDR content, more dimming zones for better brightness control, and a 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio.
Like the display, Apple did not change the camera in the 2022 iPad Pro. The rear camera has two cameras, a 12MP Wide paired with a 10MP Ultra Wide that has 2X optical zoom, 5X digital zoom, and ProRes video recording up to 4K at 30 fps (the 128GB iPad Pro can shoot ProRes video at 1080p at 30 fps). The front camera is a 12MP ultra-wide unit that can use Center Stage during FaceTime calls.
The storage options for the 2022 iPad Pro are the same as the 2021 model: 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB, and 2TB. If you want to shoot 4K video in ProRes format, you must get a model with at least 256GB of storage. The 128GB model shoots ProRes video at 1080p at 30 fps and does not allow for 4K ProRes shooting.
The prices in the U.S. for the 2022 iPad Pro are the same as the 2021 model. However, the prices outside the U.S. have significantly increased. Below are price comparisons for each model at the different storage configurations.