Why you can trust ZDNET : ZDNET independently tests and researches products to bring you our best recommendations and advice. When you buy through our links, we may earn a commission. Our process

'ZDNET Recommends': What exactly does it mean?

ZDNET's recommendations are based on many hours of testing, research, and comparison shopping. We gather data from the best available sources, including vendor and retailer listings as well as other relevant and independent reviews sites. And we pore over customer reviews to find out what matters to real people who already own and use the products and services we’re assessing.

When you click through from our site to a retailer and buy a product or service, we may earn affiliate commissions. This helps support our work, but does not affect what we cover or how, and it does not affect the price you pay. Neither ZDNET nor the author are compensated for these independent reviews. Indeed, we follow strict guidelines that ensure our editorial content is never influenced by advertisers.

ZDNET's editorial team writes on behalf of you, our reader. Our goal is to deliver the most accurate information and the most knowledgeable advice possible in order to help you make smarter buying decisions on tech gear and a wide array of products and services. Our editors thoroughly review and fact-check every article to ensure that our content meets the highest standards. If we have made an error or published misleading information, we will correct or clarify the article. If you see inaccuracies in our content, please report the mistake via this form.


Four reasons to buy Apple's 2024 iPad Pro (especially if you own an older model)

From a next-gen chip to the thinnest form factor yet, let's break down the top features.
Written by Kyle Kucharski, Editor

After a two-year hiatus, lots of hardware speculation, and a steady trickle of information regarding upcoming features, we finally know what Apple's new lineup of 2024 iPad Pro tablets has to offer. And it's looking great, especially for creators. 

Apple unveiled its 2024 iPad Pro models on Tuesday at its "Let Loose" event, flaunting new 11-inch and 13-inch tablets with a host of upgrades, including some impressive OLED screens with the new Ultra Retina XDR display, a thinner, lighter form factor, powerful new M4 processors, a big upgrade to the Apple Pencil, and several overhauls of creative apps made specifically for the iPad Pro.

Also: I've used every iPad since the original. Here's my buying advice for the new 2024 models

With the ubiquity of the iPhone and the prevailing popularity of MacBook laptops, Apple needed to redefine the iPad's identity with renewed purpose. It appears to have done so with this lineup, unveiling a variety of new features geared toward creators, designers, and artists, all anchored by brand-new OLED displays. The cherry on top of all the new features is the pricing, which is slightly more accessible than anticipated: the 11-inch model starts at $999, and the 13-inch starts at $1,299. 

1. OLED Displays with Ultra Retina XDR

This is the first time an OLED display has appeared on an iPad, and it comes to the tablets along with some brand-new features. Apple debuted its Ultra Retina XDR technology for both iPad Pro sizes and uses an architecture called "tandem OLED," which stacks two panels on top of one another, combining the light from both. 

Also: iPad Pro (2024) vs. iPad Air (2024): Which Apple tablet should you buy?

This results in a max brightness of 1,000 nits for SDR and HDR content and an impressively blinding 1,600 nits for HDR. The display comes in an optional recycled glass screen layering etched to the nanometer scale that scatters ambient light for use even in very bright conditions, such as outdoors. 

2. Thinner and lighter than ever

The new iPad Pros are very thin, just 5.3mm for the 11-inch model, and 5.1mm for the 13-inch model, making them Apple's thinnest product ever made. They are also exceedingly light, with the 11-inch weighing in at under a pound, and the 13-inch a quarter of a pound lighter than the previous version. 

Also: Everything Apple announced at its iPad event: iPad Pro, Air, Pencil, M4, and more

The front-facing 12MP camera has also been moved to the side of the tablet, allowing for video calls with the tablet in landscape mode -- a logical and much-needed quality-of-life improvement. The camera on the back of the tablet also features upgrades to Smart HDR images and video, including four mics with improved audio quality, and a new adaptive flash setting called True Tone. Designed for document scanning, the camera takes multiple photos at once, firing the flash from different angles to eliminate shadows, then stitches the photos together into one image. 

3. M4 processors

Person using iPad

Perhaps the most anticipated news is the inclusion of the brand-new M4 processors in the iPad Pros, which forego the M3 chip, skipping an entire generation in one jump. The M4 processor brings powerful performance capabilities to the iPad Pro, allowing the new tablets to run four times faster than the 2022 versions with the M2 chip, and 10 times faster than the original M1 iPad Pro, according to Apple. 

Also: Inside iPad Pro's new 'outrageously powerful' M4 chip, designed for AI workloads

The M4 processor emphasizes scaling with AI. The chip includes a dedicated block for AI-related processing tasks, which Apple showed off as one of the features within its suite of new apps redesigned for the iPad Pro. One demo showed a user isolating a moving person in a video file and removing the background with a single tap. 

The M4 chips also include several graphical improvements, aligned with the launch's emphasis on video editing and design. Besides including ray tracing technology for the first time, the M4 is four times faster at rendering graphics than the M2, according to Apple. Notably, the M4 will come with the iPad Pro but not the 2024 iPad Air models, which still feature Apple's M2 chips. 

4. New apps, with a new Apple Pencil 

The new iPad Pro is being touted as a device that is not only capable of demanding tasks like video editing and 3D rendering but also designed specifically for them. During the Let Loose event, Apple presented its functionality within a myriad of different apps, all using an updated touchscreen UI and the new and improved $130 Apple Pencil Pro The latest pencil gives haptic feedback and features a "barrel roll" function that lets the user select brushes, adjust sliders, and navigate the UI by physically turning the pencil.

The M4 chip will support performance and improved touch functionality for the iPad Pro in apps like Shapr3DZBrushFinal Cut Pro, and Logic Pro, while Stage Manager will support overlapping windows, allowing the tablet to connect to multiple external monitors at once.

Also: Apple Pencil Pro vs. Apple Pencil 2: Which model works best for your iPad?

Within Final Cut Pro, Apple demonstrated a new live multi-cam feature, which allows creators to sync up to four different iPhones or iPads together and transfer their respective video feeds to the iPad Pro, all with a touchscreen UI. This functionality positions the iPad Pro as a powerful studio-level device and opens up entirely new workflows for creators.

With the new vibrant screens, light form factor, and upgraded Apple Pencil in place of a mouse, the iPad Pro is positioned as a mobile workstation for creatives that offers a more hands-on, tactile experience that a laptop simply can't replicate. The flexibility of the new line of iPads, combined with the powerful M4 chips and slightly lower price than expected, marks a solid re-introduction to the tablet that many people may have forgotten about over the last couple years. 

Editorial standards