New iPad Pro rumored to debut with M4 chip

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited April 28

A new rumor claims that the forthcoming iPad Pro, scheduled to debut on May 7, could be the first Apple product with the next-generation M4 chip powering it.

New iPad Pro logo on the back
New iPad Pro logo on the back



It seems unlikely that the iPad Pro would skip the M3 chip outright, or that it would appear in an iPad ahead of any Mac. However, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman claims in his Sunday newsletter there is "a strong possibility" that it will have the M4 on board.

He added in his Power On newsletter that he believes Apple will market the pro tablet as "its first truly AI-powered device."

The iPad Pro is also expected to gain an OLED display, which could help make the device thinner than previous models. Apple is also said to be planning to reposition the FaceTime front camera, and release redesigned accessories including a new Magic Keyboard and Apple Pencil.

He suggests that an iPad Pro debut of the M4 chip could set the stage for more M4-based Macs and A18-based iPhone models. If the M4 iPad Pro debut is accurate, it would be the shortest cycle of Apple Silicon updates yet, with the gap between releases being only seven months, versus about 10 from M2 to M3.

An expanded Neural Engine and greater machine learning or AI capabilities in forthcoming products are expected to be a major part of this June's Worldwide Developer Conference. That event will be held on June 10-14th, and again be mostly online with a special in-person event at Apple Park.

Rumor Score: Possible

Read on AppleInsider

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 40
    aderutteraderutter Posts: 618member
    This has been rumoured previously and if true might mean we get Mac Mini & Mac Studio M4 sooner than some are predicting? 

    Either way, the new large iPad Pro & new Pencil are likely going to perform brilliantly with the upcoming ZBrush for iPad 😁
    jellybellyssfe11Alex1N
  • Reply 2 of 40
    I suppose any chance of the iPad mini getting the M4 is nonexistent..? 
    pulseimagesjellybellyiOS_Guy80OnPartyBusiness
  • Reply 3 of 40
    narwhalnarwhal Posts: 122member
    Qualcomm and Microsoft will debut Snapdragon X Elite Windows laptops in May that they claim match the specs of a base model M3. I suspect Apple wants to release a faster iPad before then to take a bit of wind from their sails.
    pulseimages
  • Reply 4 of 40
    nubusnubus Posts: 479member
    It doesn't make sense to ship any AI product before WWDC. There is no new iPadOS/AI to make use of that new AI power.
    Even worse for Air as it will be obsolete on arrival.

    Launching M4 now will make MBA M3 "the last student computer without AI". It is, but Apple shouldn't put back-to-school sales at risk.
    Same for iPhone. We're 4-5 months from next gen. No way that Apple will go full Osborne and kill all shipping products now without new products.

    WWDC should be XCode AI + frameworks using very limited memory + the message that everything is possible with 18 TOPS and 6-8 GB as that is A16/M3.
    A18/A18 Pro/M4 can deliver a new level of performance but iPhone has to be first.
    Alex1Nwilliamlondonbandits1
  • Reply 5 of 40
    narwhal said:
    Qualcomm and Microsoft will debut Snapdragon X Elite Windows laptops in May that they claim match the specs of a base model M3. I suspect Apple wants to release a faster iPad before then to take a bit of wind from their sails. CBv 
    I doubt Apple could have based a surprise like this on recent public information of Qualcomm and Microsoft news or even ‘insider’ hunches of those plans. 

    The  Apple Silicon chips may take two years to design the chip/package while working with TSMC engineers and planners to know when production quantities will reach critical mass necessary for a product release. Then there’s designing the iPad (in parallel to chip ramp up, as well as after test chips are available to test the new chip in the new iPad design, testing sequences of revisions etc.— prior to start of iPad production and assembly one or two months ago to announce May 9 and release prior to WWDC opening. (So developers can try new software tools on the new AI functionality). 

    It would be a major feat of secrecy to have this rumor only drop now.

    And I hope that’s the case.  It would change the yearly sales pattern, increasing/boosting iPad sales quite significantly. 

    Apple would get a lot of attention if this happens, which only spurs further sales—a virtuous circle.  It’ll help the stock price as well. 

    But it’s such a difficult feat—so while I won’t count on it, I sure have my fingers crossed. However unlikely, I want this to be true.  
    edited April 28 Alex1N
  • Reply 6 of 40
    retrogustoretrogusto Posts: 1,121member
    Seems crazy, but given how long the most recent upgrade cycle was, and the fact that we’re only a few weeks from WWDC and 4 months from the traditional iPhone upgrade season, it doesn’t seem completely impossible. If Apple is on the verge of announcing significant AI advances, either the new devices would need to support the new technologies, or the next hardware update would be expected very soon. A lot of customers will be angry if they upgrade to the latest “Pro” device after a long period of stagnation and that device becomes obsolete a few months later. Of course, the rumors that a major AI advance is imminent may also be unfounded. 
    raybo
  • Reply 7 of 40
    nubus said:
    It doesn't make sense to ship any AI product before WWDC. There is no new iPadOS/AI to make use of that new AI power.
    Even worse for Air as it will be obsolete on arrival.

    Launching M4 now will make MBA M3 "the last student computer without AI". It is, but Apple shouldn't put back-to-school sales at risk.
    Same for iPhone. We're 4-5 months from next gen. No way that Apple will go full Osborne and kill all shipping products now without new products.

    WWDC should be XCode AI + frameworks using very limited memory + the message that everything is possible with 18 TOPS and 6-8 GB as that is A16/M3.
    A18/A18 Pro/M4 can deliver a new level of performance but iPhone has to be first.
    Re WWDC and need for a new iOS with new AI— wouldn’t the new AI need new hardware to have that ML/AI capability?  And developers need that hardware in hand to try the new code at WWDC.  (I’m finding myself starting to see a logic in this rumor being true)

    The recent Air would still perform its expected functions.  In the future, iPads may start to compete favorably with the MB Air and even the Mini, albeit with the iOS file system.  Perhaps the iPadOS file system interface will finally get easier to use, closer to the Mac OS file system in appearance and use. 

    Think back to a decade ago when Apple derided a toaster fridge (touch Mac).  Apple has a history of saying something will never happen to kind of kill the idea until it’s ready. To paraphrase Steve Jobs re iPhone: “Pen/stylus/pencil? No way, you can use the best device: your fingers.”  And the pencil came forth years later —on a horizontal surface, the iPad.  
    Paraphrasing again: Touch Mac?—“who would want to reach up to a vertical screen and tire their arm?”   I’m going to guess some more Mac features will come to iOS and iPad (horizontal surface) before vice-versa. And to me a more readable iPadOS file system would be first up. 

    While I think this M4 iPad rumor is unlikely and hoping it’s true, Apple has had “eating its own” (or full Osborne-ing) in its DNA since Steve Jobs came back in 1997. 

    Regarding memory, I’m in some agreement, although A16 might be a stretch considering Apple has talked of on device extension of ML/AI. While already having some on device ML/AI such as predictive text, it will take more specialized memory registers and GPU and Neural cores than currently exist. 
    Then again with rumors of Apple designing its own server silicon, perhaps on device is not absolutist in nature, but used more-so than other companies for privacy as well as applying ML to your personal style and preferences, while Apple having cloud AI as well.  That would also fit with rumors of searching for a partnership with in a cloud based AI company or scheme.

    edited April 28 tmayAlex1N
  • Reply 8 of 40
    thttht Posts: 5,540member
    I'm not a fan of chatbots, so, an M4 SoC with more NPU performance is not big deal to me. But, this 2024 iPad Pro is getting more expensive as we get closer to May 7.  :D
    $3000 for an optioned out iPad Pro 13? For a model with 4 TB storage, 24 GB RAM, cellular and nano-texture? I will be getting whatever option offers the most RAM. The keyboard accessory is going to be expensive!
    edited April 28 Alex1N
  • Reply 9 of 40
    blastdoorblastdoor Posts: 3,426member
    If this happens I think it’s mostly explained by apple wanting to move to a higher yield / lower cost version of TSMC’s 3nm process ASAP. M3 might go down in history as the shortest lived and smallest m lineup. 

    It might also mean the iPad Pro will go another 2 years before an update
    Alex1Nmattinoz
  • Reply 10 of 40
    blastdoorblastdoor Posts: 3,426member
    nubus said:
    It doesn't make sense to ship any AI product before WWDC. There is no new iPadOS/AI to make use of that new AI power.
    Apple could release a new iPadOS at the same time they release a new iPad Pro, and that new version could be initially exclusive to the new hardware.

    Apple doesn’t initially need third party developer support for new AI stuff. It could initially be about improved Siri and other first party apps. 

    So, really, no need at all to wait for WWDC
    Alex1NwilliamlondoniOS_Guy80jahblade
  • Reply 11 of 40
    charlesncharlesn Posts: 940member
    Well... jumping right to the M4 would certainly be a headline grabber for marketing purposes. But unless there are some new and impressive capabilities that require the M4, it serves no purpose other than marketing. It's not as if current M2-equipped iPad Pros are underpowered--quite the opposite, and this has been the iPad Pro conundrum for a while. Apple keeps marketing increased horsepower which iPad Pro capabilities don't require. We shall see. I hope Tim & Co. can deliver the AI goods with whatever they're planning for WWDC, but I have my doubts. Considering that Siri still sucks after 14 years on the market leaves me wondering if Apple's up to the AI challenge it faces. 
    muthuk_vanalingamwilliamlondon
  • Reply 12 of 40
    tht said:
    I'm not a fan of chatbots, so, an M4 SoC with more NPU performance is not big deal to me. But, this 2024 iPad Pro is getting more expensive as we get closer to May 7.  :D
    $3000 for an optioned out iPad Pro 13? For a model with 4 TB storage, 24 GB RAM, cellular and nano-texture? I will be getting whatever option offers the most RAM. The keyboard accessory is going to be expensive!
    I don’t think Apple will be solely focused on Chatbots.   It’s ML/AI will be focused on user experience. There are so many uses for ML/AI other than Chatbots. Eg. Coding assistance will be big at first. Having capabilities for Siri to do sequenced requests, with data onboard or over local network, already in compressed format on device, so Siri can smartly handle requests that involve multiple Apple App requests and including third party Apps as they get updated to support tieing in to other Apps.  Alternate views of the file system—a smart file stem interface you can customize.  There is a lot that could be done for accessibility features for individuals with any of a variety of impairments.

    Health and Fitness could benefit greatly from ML/AI.  I see no end of uses other than Chatbots, although Chatbots with licensed data would be refreshing with authors, artists and any originators of the data getting compensated.
    Automated (smart) footnotes comes to mind as a much better Chatbots creating content derived from other creators.

    The ecosystem of multiple devices  owned by a user could afford having the device eg. Mac, with the most memory and storage that could house local data, compressed in a new tighter compression tailored for ML/AI retrieval and interpretation available over your local Wi-Fi for smaller devices like the Apple Watch, AirPods, even the iPhone.  
    Distributed computing could be another advantage for users with multiple devices.  Privacy protected—✅. 

    Apple’s large installed user base of users with multiple devices will be a competitive edge.  And it will be motivating for single device users to venture to more devices.  iPhone only users could see an advantage to switch to/add Macs and iPads.
    Alex1N
  • Reply 13 of 40
    danoxdanox Posts: 3,097member
    narwhal said:
    Qualcomm and Microsoft will debut Snapdragon X Elite Windows laptops in May that they claim match the specs of a base model M3. I suspect Apple wants to release a faster iPad before then to take a bit of wind from their sails.

    The key to its performance is whether Microsoft has followed thru on the their end.....Also no one outside has been allowed to properly test them yet. Qualcomm's current mobile socs are far behind Apple (4-5 years behind) I don't think Qualcomm laptop/desktop soc is going to equal or exceed the M2 let alone the M3.

    https://browser.geekbench.com/mobile-benchmarks s24 ultra is just barely ahead of the iPhone 12 Pro smartphone? And is behind the iPhone 13 the lower end 13 which has LiDAR by the way same as all iPhone 12's. Also note the iPhone are 6 cores and Samsung are 8 cores and they still get trounced by Apples socs which also have a smaller battery and less memory still hold their own in battery life tests too.

    https://www.semiaccurate.com/2024/04/24/qualcomm-is-cheating-on-their-snapdragon-x-elite-pro-benchmarks/ Something doesn't add up.....If you look at Qualcomms mobile chips current performance even with the latest soc.

    The total package OS and hardware is what wins the day in the end for Apple.

    Will Apple use a M4 my bet is on a M3 in the iPad but if Apple uses M4 SOC'S across all product lines thru the end of this year that would great for users and bad for the competition.
    edited April 28 Alex1Nwilliamlondon
  • Reply 14 of 40
    canukstormcanukstorm Posts: 2,729member
    nubus said:
    It doesn't make sense to ship any AI product before WWDC. There is no new iPadOS/AI to make use of that new AI power.
    Even worse for Air as it will be obsolete on arrival.

    Launching M4 now will make MBA M3 "the last student computer without AI". It is, but Apple shouldn't put back-to-school sales at risk.
    Same for iPhone. We're 4-5 months from next gen. No way that Apple will go full Osborne and kill all shipping products now without new products.

    WWDC should be XCode AI + frameworks using very limited memory + the message that everything is possible with 18 TOPS and 6-8 GB as that is A16/M3.
    A18/A18 Pro/M4 can deliver a new level of performance but iPhone has to be first.
    Every Apple processor with a Neural Engine will have the capability of AI compute.  I'm guessing the M4-series of SoC's will have AI features the older processors don't.
  • Reply 15 of 40
    canukstormcanukstorm Posts: 2,729member
    blastdoor said:
    If this happens I think it’s mostly explained by apple wanting to move to a higher yield / lower cost version of TSMC’s 3nm process ASAP. M3 might go down in history as the shortest lived and smallest m lineup. 

    It might also mean the iPad Pro will go another 2 years before an update
    Well said.
    9secondkox2jellybelly
  • Reply 16 of 40
    narwhal said:
    Qualcomm and Microsoft will debut Snapdragon X Elite Windows laptops in May that they claim match the specs of a base model M3. I suspect Apple wants to release a faster iPad before then to take a bit of wind from their sails.

    Snapdragon X Elite processors aren’t nearly as good as people think. In fact, they’re quite pathetic in certain regards.

    The idea that Apple would up the release date because of the X Elite is, IMO, ridiculous.

    I also think an M4 only 6 months after the M3 is highly unlikely. More likely is a different version of the M3 more suited to the iPad.
    9secondkox2Alex1Nwilliamlondon
  • Reply 17 of 40
    thttht Posts: 5,540member
    blastdoor said:
    nubus said:
    It doesn't make sense to ship any AI product before WWDC. There is no new iPadOS/AI to make use of that new AI power.
    Apple could release a new iPadOS at the same time they release a new iPad Pro, and that new version could be initially exclusive to the new hardware.

    Apple doesn’t initially need third party developer support for new AI stuff. It could initially be about improved Siri and other first party apps. 

    So, really, no need at all to wait for WWDC
    There is nothing unusual about the AI accelerators. It's just 8 or 16 bit integer SIMD, maybe 32 bit. Apple has been shipping these types of execution units for about 6 years now, and you could use the GPU, CPU to do it before that.

    With LLM chatbots breaking into mainstream consciousness, these SIMD units are now advertised as AI units in hope that people will buy new hardware. Since these LLM models will require a bit more performance than current SIMD and GPUs can muster, there is some optimism that AI features can drive an upgrade cycle. It all depends on AI providing features people would upgrade hardware for. I'm a bit skeptical. It's all part of the complex of compute hardware in the SoCs. There's a lot of transistors to spread around.

    A bit of roundabout way to say that the hardware is already here and Apple doesn't need to wait to ship SoCs with more NPUs. Furthermore, they made this decision about 3 years ago, at least. Who knows if these iPP models will come with the M4 SoC though. Kind of a big thing to keep secret. We should expect it to be M3 SoCs.
    Alex1Ncurrentinterest
  • Reply 18 of 40
    chasmchasm Posts: 3,414member
    narwhal said:
    Qualcomm and Microsoft will debut Snapdragon X Elite Windows laptops in May that they claim match the specs of a base model M3.
    It's true ... plugged in only, fans loudly blazing, for short periods, that is ...
    williamlondonAlex1N
  • Reply 19 of 40
    mpantonempantone Posts: 2,104member
    I suppose any chance of the iPad mini getting the M4 is nonexistent..? 
    The chance of this happening isn't 0%. That's because no one here can accurately predict what Apple will do. That said, the chances of the iPad mini getting the M4 in the 7th generation version is probably less than 0.25%. It's not like Apple has a track record of sticking the same part in their iPad Pros and iPad minis in the same release cycle.

    I could conceivably imagine an iPad mini with an older generation M-series SoC as a debut. Apple is still peddling devices using the M1 SoC so that's always an option.

    Anyhow don't bet the farm on it. Best of luck.
    edited April 28 Alex1N
  • Reply 20 of 40
    A bit of roundabout way to say that the hardware is already here and Apple doesn't need to wait to ship SoCs with more NPUs. Furthermore, they made this decision about 3 years ago, at least. Who knows if these iPP models will come with the M4 SoC though. Kind of a big thing to keep secret. We should expect it to be M3 SoCs.

    +1^^^^
    danox
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