Apple unveils M4 chip for its new iPad Pro, skipping M3 entirely

Powerful performance on the horizon.

The newly unveiled Apple M4 silicon. Image: Apple
The newly unveiled Apple M4 silicon. Image: Apple

Apple has announced its new line of iPad Pro tablets which will feature the brand-new M4 chip and focus heavily on AI computing for enthusiast use. What’s more, there’s also a leading new OLED tech which means the display rocks a serious upgrade, too.

Announced at Apple’s Let Loose Event, the new line of iPad Pro tablets is going straight through to the bespoke M4 chip made specifically for mobile hardware. It’s quite a change considering M3 silicon only launched last year. Previous leaks we’ve covered have been confirmed, and the results are impressive. M4 is built on a revised 3nm TSMC process with a much larger NPU for enhanced AI computing coupled with the bump up to four performance and six efficiency cores.

According to Apple, the M4 chip inside of the new iPad Pro line is 50% more powerful than the M2 silicon you’ll find inside the upcoming Apple iPad Air generation and older MacBooks and iMacs. That’s some good progress, to be sure, but most importantly, it finally allows the new mobile hardware to stand alone from the laptops and desktops, which could prove a USP in its own right. Arguably more exciting is the new ten-core GPU baked onto the chip with improved dynamic caching, mesh shading, and ray tracing cores for gaming and productivity.

It’s the first of Apple’s silicon to support hardware-accelerated ray tracing and mesh shading, according to the manufacturer, which lends some serious credence to the tablet’s gaming chops, especially with titles such as Assassin’s Creed Mirage on the horizon. The Californian giant also offers triple-A experiences such as Resident Evil Village and Death Stranding on the platform, so the iPad Pro could be a proper powerhouse for gamers and creatives.

The neural engine itself is slated to feature a 16-core design, which is faster and more efficient than other M-tier silicon. It’s arguably the biggest selling point as we have seen a real move towards AI. Exactly how the tablet will utilise the NPU remains to be seen, but we’re betting it’ll play a big part in productivity through the likes of Adobe Creative Suite, Garage Band, Final Cut Pro, and GoPro Quik, among others.

Aleksha McLoughlin is an incredibly experienced hardware editor and writer. She's previously been the Hardware Editor for TechRadar Gaming, GamesRadar, PC Guide, and VideoGamer. She's also contributed hardware reviews and coverage for Dexerto, PC Gamer, Android Central, and Expert Reviews.