Gadget Review: How Does the 13-inch 2024 Apple iPad Pro Stack Up?

By Rakini Bergundy, June 23, 2024

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It was built as the most significant iPad launch since the original. 

Before the launch of the new iPad Pro 13-inch, and even after - it appears that the new model is living up to the hype and expectations.

The new model is an all-encompassing, truly portable device that boasts a number of versatile features. 

Of note here is that it is the first time ever that an Apple M-category chip has been launched in an iPad (M4 chip; previously, only in iMacs). 

The new debut also comes in as the thinnest device on record from Apple, and its screen is arguably the best on the tablet market right now.

sukasaha_owata-iPad.jpeg

The 13-inch iPad Pro was unveiled in early May. Image via @sukasaha_owata/X

While there is little doubt that the new release will be popular with the masses, the high-tech device will be far from being suitable for everyone. 

However, be assured that this will be the best tablet on the market in 2024 purely on specs alone.

However, all of the noteworthy improvements also bring about a significantly higher price at checkout time, with the 13-inch model coming in at a whopping RMB11,499 while the 11-inch model is available for a more affordable, yet still a high-end price of RMB8,999.

Apple-Store-lineup.jpegWhile the US is Apple's largest market, China accounts for nearly one-fifth of the company's annual revenue. Image via @StockMKTNewz/X

The price point will no doubt mean that it is immediately unaffordable for many interested people, especially those looking to buy a tablet purely for leisure use.

The bypassing of the M3 chip seen in the MacBook Pro suggests that this new model of iPad is far from just a standard periodic tablet upgrade but rather an alternative to the modern Mac or desktop. 

Viewing it through that lens, the price point becomes a lot more tolerable.

For those who are simply looking for something to use casually around the house, the iPad Air 6 may be a more practical choice, as it also comes with a set of its own unique features, including the Pencil Pro Stylus. 

On the other hand, if what you're looking for is a durable, thin, light model with numerously more intensive capabilities, look no further than the iPad Pro 13-inch.

The new models are each available in 256GB, 512GB, 1TB and 2TB storage capacity, with the latter two options also equipped with 16GB of RAM. 

The larger-capacity models also have the option to have nano-texture glass as an addition to the screen, which will minimize glare and reflections - for an additional price.

Moving on to the design of the new iPad Pro, the ultra-thin body, along with 'tandem OLED' technology, allows for the incredible 'Ultra Retina XDR display' as well as a newly improved GPU. 

The M4 chip has also boosted capability around energy efficiency and performance.

The power efficiency the M4 provides has allowed Apple to execute the ultra-thin and light design. 

Its dimensions come in at 281.6 x215.5 x 5.1mm and a weight of 579g. 

This, according to Apple, makes it the thinnest device the company has ever produced.

13-5.1mm-thinnest.jpegThe 13-inch iPad is the thinnest Apple product ever made. Image via @thefaizzainal/X

In spite of having a larger display than the prior iPad model, it is arguably much more portable. 

However, the thin device may concern some after the saga that saw the iPhone 6 Plus bend and lose its shape many years ago.

However, while users obviously should take the same prudent care as they would with any other valuable item, the new iPad Pro is fairly robust and sturdy.

Made from 100% recycled aluminum, this new edition carries a solid feel without being all too heavy - in addition to being eco-friendly.

There are two available colors: Silver and Space Black. 

It also comes with four built-in speakers and four separate microphones. 

USB 4 port charging and 40GB/s data transfer speeds are additional features.

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Apple's new 'Space Black' color offering was first revealed as an option for the MacBook Pro in Late 2023. Image via @appleintro/X

Arriving at the cameras, there are both pros and cons.

Good news first, the 12MP Ultra Wide front camera has been relocated to the right-hand side, which puts the camera at the top of the screen when in landscape use. 

This makes video calls much more suitable and also makes it easy to log in via Face ID - and is a design upgrade that many iPad enthusiasts have been wishing for.

The 12MP rear camera can film up to 4K at 60 frames per second, with some new AI features incorporated by Apple. 

The 'LiDAR' camera can also be used for 3D and spatial awareness, allowing the iPad to capture real objects, and overlay them with virtual objects using augmented reality. 

Neat!

The bad part is that one camera has been removed from the rear. 

While Apple has not commented on why this change has been made, it could be due to the lightweight desire, or as a cost-cutting measure. 

This will likely disappoint some of Apple's loyal fans.

The display is arguably the most exciting facet of the new iPad Pro 13-inch model. 

Its new OLED tech offers a better contrast and is brighter (1,000 nits) in comparison to the 2022 model at 600 nits. 

The new model also provides much more detail when watching dark scenes. 

The color temperature of the new design is also much warmer than previous models.

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The new iPad features an updated OLED screen. Image via @我是HYK/Weibo

Watching movies is a joy. 

Colors appear bright, vibrant and realistic and make for a fantastic overall viewing experience.

While the screen is slightly larger compared to the previous 12.9-inch model, its higher resolution makes its pixel density similar to the prior design.

Both the 13-inch and 11-inch models run off the same technology, which means there's no penalty for viewing quality when opting for the cheaper model.  

Overall, the display is probably the best you can find on a tablet device in 2024. 

It probably outcompetes most laptop equivalents as well.

The appearance of the brand-new M4 chip is a strong message from Apple: the iPad is no longer subordinate to the Mac. 

It now boasts the same, if not more powerful, features and components as the MacBook Pro (M3 chip). 

While this has the potential to alienate some Mac fans, the result seems worth it - the most powerful tablet on the market.

The M4 chip, according to Apple, boasts 20% improved thermal performance, while providing 4 times the rendering performance of the prior model. 

It also offers 50% more CPU performance than the M2 chip.

All of the apps that we tested on the iPad Pro 13-inch ran extremely quickly, and apart from a single crash in some early software, to be expected, the iPad Pro's performance was solid. 

The built-in speakers packed a punch which catered to a great listening experience, especially considering the thinness of the iPad.

This is a tablet with serious performance capabilities. 

Apple promised 10 hours of battery life for both models when using Wi-Fi (nine if using 5G). 

However, when testing, we came just short of 15 hours using Wi-Fi and over 13 hours using 5G. 

This far surpassed its predecessor, which struggled to match Apple's promise of 10 hours.

While this device is certainly not for those on a tight budget or those looking for a tablet to help complete day-to-day tasks, the iPad Pro 13-inch is a great choice for creative professionals looking for an all-in-one device, those considering their next laptop purchase and those wanting the most powerful tablet out there.



[Cover image via @CGMeifangZhang/X]

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