A comparison between the M2 and M4 iPad Pro

A comparison between the M2 and M4 iPad Pro, my initial impressions and close-up photos of the Magic Keyboard

A comparison between the M2  and M4 iPad Pro

I'm a huge iPad Pro fan. I have several blog posts that go into the details of how I used it in the past and why I liked it. My current workhouse was the M2 iPad Pro (11-inch) until the M4 iPad Pro (still 11-inch) arrived today. My old iPad will be a household device for the kids.

There are many M4 iPad Pro reviews out there, so I won't go into that, but I want to compare it to the previous generation, the M2 iPad Pro. First, I'll share comparison photos, and then I'll share my initial impressions.

In the photos, the white iPad is the M2 11-inch version, and the black one is the new M4 11-inch. I always bought the black versions except the previous generation because I wanted to try them out. But I decided I liked black more, so I opted for Space Black for the new iPad Pro.

Here are some of the differences:

Initial impressions

I got the new iPad Pro around noon. I immediately shot some photos with my old one and then started to set it up. Interestingly, it downloaded the latest iPadOS before I could even install my apps. After that, I imported these photos and used them for a few hours. So, these impressions are fresh; I will probably follow up on them later.

  • The new magic keyboard function keys are the best addition. I love how easy things just got better for me. Some of the actions I can do now quicker with the keyboard:
    • Dim the screen
    • Turn on Do not disturb mode.
    • Play/Pause music, change music track
    • Change the sound volume
  • The number one reason for the update was the screen. It's miles better than the existing M2 iPad Pro. The blacks are more black; the whites are more white. It's a joy so far.
  • It's harder to open the Magic Keyboard case when it's closed. I suspect this is because the magnets are much stronger than in the previous version.
  • You can feel that the newer iPad is thinner, and it feels weird. The older one was already thinner, but I love what they did here. It's a magical device.
  • The sound seems to have less volume, but maybe it's my perception. It's not quiet, but also not very loud.
  • I used a scale and the newer iPad Pro is 56grams lighter than the previous generation. Even though it's not a lot, it was perceivable.
  • There is a new battery setting to limit charging up to 80%. I've enabled it.
  • Holding the iPad with the new keyboard in clamshell mode is a degradation compared to the old one. The old Magic Keyboard had a protective fabric around the hinge, and the design was cohesive.
  • I imported and edited the photos in this post on the new M4 iPad Pro. Adobe Lightroom is faster. Rotating, cropping, and processing RAW 60mp photos is a joy. It was already fast with the M2 iPad, but you can feel some speed gains here.
  • Typing on the new keyboard feels better due to the metal surface.
  • There are some software issues, like the inability to select keyboards (or switch to the emoji keyboard).
  • I have had many Space/Black variations of the iPad; this is by far the blackest one.
  • The screen on the new 11-inch feels wider. I thought it was an imagination, but I put them on top of each other, and there is indeed a 4-5mm difference.

Upgrading from the M2 to M4 is not needed of course, but I had two reasons. First, I hated the old M2's display (it was inferior compared to the 12.9 M2 iPad Pro). Second, we needed another device for our household so the kids and my wife could use it at home. So, instead of buying a new one, I passed on my iPad to them.

If you're considering whether it's worth upgrading, it's wise to ask these questions: Do you use the Magic Keyboard often? Do you watch a lot of videos? Do you edit photos? If you answer with "yes" to them, than I think it's worth upgrading. Everything is faster and smoother, and there is a perceivable increase in your quality of life. But, if you're not sure about these questions, I would skip this iteration or wait until the prices are in the second-hand market.