M4 iPad Pro review round-up: Powerhouse held back by iPadOS limitations

Apple’s latest release, the M4 iPad Pro, has garnered significant attention with its sleek design, vibrant OLED display, and powerful M4 chip. However, as reviewers have pointed out, the device is held back by the limitations of iPadOS.

Let’s delve into the highs and lows highlighted in the early reviews of Apple’s top-of-the-line tablet.

M4 iPad Pro

Display and Design

The new M4 iPad Pro comes with a remarkably slim design, earning praise from reviewers. With the thinnest Apple product ever, the tablet is more portable and comfortable to hold for extended periods of time. The addition of the OLED display has been a game-changer, offering vibrant colors and exceptional brightness, enhancing the user experience across various tasks. From Engadget’s Nathan Ingraham:

This is a nice upgrade over the Mini-LED screen on the old 12.9-inch iPad Pro, but it’s a massive improvement for the 11-inch iPad Pro. That model was stuck with a standard LCD with no HDR capabilities; the disparity between the screens Apple offered on the two iPad Pros was significant, but now both tablets have the same caliber display, and it’s one of the best I’ve ever seen.

2024 iPad Pro

From CNBC’s Todd Haselton:

The first thing I noticed when I picked it up was its thinness. It’s noticeable compared with the M1 iPad Pro I’ve used for the past several years. And it’s lighter. That’s especially nice on the 13-inch model, which replaces the 12.9-inch version. I always thought it felt too heavy and clunky to use as a tablet. It still feels big, but it’s more manageable.

2024 iPad Pro


Powered by the M4 chip, the new iPad Pro delivers impressive performance. With Geekbench 6 scores showing a 20% improvement over its predecessor, the M4 chip ensures faster processing, smoother multitasking, and future-proof performance. Reviewers have noted the significant boost in speed and efficiency, making it a worthwhile investment for years to come. As highlighted by Tony Polanco from Tom’s Guide:

I used the iPad Pro as a laptop and the tablet had no problem handling my regular workflow, which usually has me juggling multiple open tabs and applications. The iPad Pro never slowed down even when I tossed a YouTube video into the mix. The tablet also handled digital comics without a hitch.

The iPad Pro also did well in our benchmark tests. On Geekbench 6, which tests overall CPU performance, the M4-driven iPad Pro performed almost twice as fast as its M2 counterpart.

M4 chip

Battery life and camera

The M4 iPad Pro boasts extended battery life, with some reviewers reporting over 13 hours of continuous usage. Additionally, the relocation of the front-facing camera to the long edge of the tablet has been appreciated, allowing for more convenient video calls, especially when using accessories like the Magic Keyboard. From TechCrunch’s Brain Heater:

Moving the front-facing camera from portrait to landscape placement was a no-brainer. We’ve seen this play out before — Apple insists it’s doing things right, refusing to change. Eventually, however, there’s just no way around it — most folks mostly use their tablets in landscape mode. It’s the best way to watch video, type and game. Portrait has its pluses — reading for one (though that entirely comes down to personal preference). At the end of the day, however, an iPad isn’t an iPhone. Embrace that.

2024 iPad Pro

iPadOS limitations

While the hardware upgrades have been well-received, the 2024 iPad Pro is still hindered by the limitations of iPadOS. Reviewers have expressed frustration with the software, which they feel does not fully utilize the device’s potential. From WIRED’s Brenda Stolyar:

After four years of debuting its M-series processors exclusively alongside its Macs, it seemed as if announcing the M4 with the new iPad Pro meant we were also about to see massive changes in software capabilities. After all, the company has been hinting at incoming AI features coming with iOS 18 (Apple is reportedly close to completing a deal with OpenAI to bring ChatGPT to iPhone). Had this not been the case, there’s no reason the company wouldn’t simply implement an M3 chip. It’s less than a year old and can be found in its high-end 14-inch MacBook Pro.

Apple has also locked certain features behind its chipsets before. With iPadOS, features like Reference Mode and full external display support are only available on the M1, M2, and M4. Stage Manager was also previously available only on the M1 and M2 until Apple expanded support to the 2018 iPad Pro and newer. Meanwhile, Apple Pencil Hover (where you can preview a change before applying it on the display) is available only with the M2 and M4.

The iPad Pro feels unfinished. With no evidence of what exactly makes the M4 chip all that revolutionary just yet, it’s tough to recommend right now—especially for the price.

Price and verdict

With prices starting at $999 for the 11-inch version and $1299 for the 13-inch version, the M4 iPad Pro is a premium investment. However, reviewers suggest that the high price tag may not justify the device’s capabilities, especially considering the constraints imposed by iPadOS.

In conclusion, Apple’s latest iPad Pro offers significant improvements in both design and performance. However, until the software catches up with the hardware, the device remains an overpowered tablet, limited by the constraints of iPadOS. As we await future updates and improvements, the M4 iPad Pro is a testament to Apple’s commitment to innovation, albeit with some reservations about its current usability.

Check out some video reviews below:

About the Author

Asma is an editor at iThinkDifferent with a strong focus on social media, Apple news, streaming services, guides, mobile gaming, app reviews, and more. When not blogging, Asma loves to play with her cat, draw, and binge on Netflix shows.

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