Which of Apple’s newest iPad Air and iPad Pro models should you buy since they have similar designs, Liquid Retina displays, M-series CPUs, 5G connectivity, and much more in common? The iPad Air’s design began to resemble that of the iPad Pro when the previous, fourth-generation model was released in September 2020.
With the release of the most current model, the iPad Air also acquired the same M1 chip as the previous iPad Pro, further bringing the two devices’ designs together. The M2 chip, Apple Pencil hover, Wi-Fi 6E, and Bluetooth 5.3 are just a few of the few new features that the most recent iPad Pro models added,
but they help to distinguish the premium iPad models from the iPad Air model that Apple debuted in March 2022. Do you require the high-end features of the iPad Pro or should you opt to save money by buying the iPad Air? How to choose which of these two iPads is ideal for you is addressed in our guide.
Comparing the iPad Air and iPad Pro
There are numerous major features that the iPad Air and iPad Pro have in common, including an all-screen design with flat edges, a 12MP rear Wide camera, a 12MP front Ultra Wide camera, and a USB-C port:
The breakdown of Apple’s specifications reveals that many of the most significant features are shared by the two iPads. The screens, authentication methods, and back camera configurations of the iPad Air and iPad Pro are just a few of the many notable distinctions between the two tablets that merit mentioning.
The iPad Air and iPad Pro both make use of Apple’s most recent all-screen product design language, which is also present on the iPad mini and 10th-generation iPad as well as the iPhone 12, iPhone 13, and iPhone 14 lineups.
This design language is characterized by industrially squared-off edges and flat sides. Despite having a smaller display, the 10.9-inch iPad Air is almost exactly the same size as the 11-inch iPad Pro, giving it somewhat broader bezels around the screen.
The iPad Air comes in a broader variety of colors despite the two iPad versions having an identical design. While the iPad Pro is only offered in Silver and Space Gray, the iPad Air comes in Space Gray, Starlight, Pink, Purple, and Blue.
The authentication method used by the iPad Air and iPad Pro is a significant distinction. Touch ID is available on the iPad Air, whereas Face ID is available on the iPad Pro. A Touch ID fingerprint scanner is built into the top button of the iPad Air. The TrueDepth camera array in the top bezel supports Face ID on the iPad Pro.
It is crucial to select your favorite way of authentication if you feel particularly strongly about it because unlocking may be used thousands of times per day. However, both Touch ID and Face ID are now well-developed technologies that function, so most consumers will likely be content with whichever device they have.
. Screen Sizes
The 10.9-inch display of the iPad Air is smaller than the 11- or 12.9-inch displays available on the iPad Pro. Between the 10.9-inch iPad Air and the 11-inch iPad Pro, the screen size difference is essentially insignificant. These devices, which weigh around half as little as the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, are ideal for consumers that prioritize portability and simple handheld use.
On the other hand, those who want to use their iPad more like a laptop, maybe on a table or with a keyboard add-on like the Magic Keyboard, are best served by the 12.9-inch iPad Pro. On the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, in particular, multitasking is a significantly better experience due to the huge display.
. Technologies for Display
The Liquid Retina LED displays of the iPad Air and the 11-inch iPad Pro both have 264 PPI, complete lamination, oleophobic and anti-reflective coatings, P3 Wide Color, and True Tone. The 11-inch iPad Pro has ProMotion technology for up to 120Hz refresh rates and can get 100 nits brighter than the iPad Air.
With the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, the biggest improvement in display technology is accessible. This model employs mini-LED as the primary display technology even though it shares all of the display features with its smaller sister, including 120Hz ProMotion. The mini-LED display of the 12.9-inch iPad Pro is referred to by Apple as a “Liquid Retina XDR display.”
The 12.9-inch iPad Pro’s mini-LED display technology enables it to have a full-screen brightness of up to 1,000 nits, a peak brightness of 1,600 nits, and a contrast ratio of 1 million to 1. It is crucial for creative professionals, such as photographers, videographers, and filmmakers, to be able to view and edit the content that is true to life HDR and Dolby Vision because the display can reflect what can be seen in the real world by capturing the brightest highlights and subtle details in even the darkest images.
For the vast majority of users, the Liquid Retina display on the iPad Air will be enough, but some may prefer the responsiveness of ProMotion on the iPad Pro for activities like gaming. On the other side, consumers that consume a lot of HDR video, creative professionals, and people who want the greatest display are best served by the 12.9-inch iPad Pro’s premium Liquid Retina XDR display.
4. M1 vs. M2
Both the Mi iPad Pro and M2 iPad Air provide excellent performance, but the iPad Pro includes the M2 chip, Apple’s most recent proprietary silicon chip created primarily for the Mac, which makes it possible to capture ProRes video and accelerate media for the first time on an iPad.
According to Apple, the M2 processor improves upon the M1’s performance per watt by adding a 40% faster Neural Engine, a 35% more potent GPU, and an 18% quicker CPU.
The iPad Pro features either 8GB or 16GB of RAM, depending on the storage configuration you select, compared to the iPad Air’s 8GB. All other iPad Pro storage variants have 8GB of RAM, while the 1TB and 2TB storage models have 16GB of RAM.
For casual users, the iPad Air’s 8GB memory will be sufficient, but 16GB will perform better when handling several windows of the same program and a variety of demanding background operations. The amount of RAM in your iPad probably won’t matter in most situations because iPadOS is very effective at memory management and it is debatable how much extra memory may be utilized by apps.
Storage options for the iPad Air are 64GB or 256GB, but the iPad Pro offers 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB, or 2TB. Many users won’t need more capacity than the iPad Air’s maximum of 256GB, but the iPad Pro offers the option for those power users who want to store a lot of data on their devices.
Their camera configurations are a significant area where the two iPad devices diverge. The iPad Air has a single 12MP wide-angle f/1.8 camera. The iPad Pro adds a /2.4 10MP Ultra Wide camera, a LiDAR scanner, and the same /1.8 12MP Wide camera seen on the iPad Air.
The iPad Pro’s Ultra Wide lens allows it to optically zoom out up to two times and digitally zoom in up to five times. The iPad Pro has a True Tone flash and the ability to record 4K ProRes video. With LiDAR, which operates at the photon level at nanosecond speed, the iPad Pro can measure the distance to objects in its immediate surroundings up to a maximum of five meters away.
As a result, the iPad Pro can now deliver a “new class” of enhanced AR experiences with superior motion capture, environmental comprehension, and person occlusion. The iPad Pro’s more sophisticated camera setup will be appreciated by customers who frequently use AR or who prefer to use their iPad as a huge viewfinder for photography, but for most people who don’t use the iPad’s back camera frequently, the iPad Air’s single Wide camera is more than adequate.
The front-facing cameras on the iPad Air and iPad Pro are both /2.4 12MP Ultra Wide cameras with a 2x optical zoom out. The TrueDepth camera on the iPad Pro also supports Portrait Lighting, Animoji, and Memoji in addition to Portrait mode.
For video calls using the front-facing camera, both devices provide Center Stage. Center Stage leverages the iPad’s wider field of view and the M1 and M2 chip’s machine learning capabilities to identify and maintain users in the center of the frame.
Center Stage automatically pans to keep users in the shot as they move around. When more people join in, the camera recognizes them as well and smoothly pans out to include everyone in the picture. The two front-facing camera systems are similar aside from Portrait mode, Portrait Lighting, Animoji, and Memoji, therefore there is no advantage to choosing one over the other.
8. Microphones and speakers
In landscape position, the iPad Air has two speakers, whereas the iPad Pro has a wider four speakers. The iPad Pro will provide a little better experience if you frequently use your iPad to listen to music and watch films using the built-in speakers.
The iPad Pro has “studio-quality” mics and the ability to record audio in stereo, which may be crucial for some users who use their iPad to record music or lectures. Still, the iPad Air boasts a strong speaker and microphone system that will be adequate for the majority of users.
9. Mobile Internet Access
With Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.3, and mmWave 5G in the US, the iPad Pro outperforms the iPad Air’s wireless networking capabilities. Most users will probably be satisfied with the iPad Air’s Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5, and sub-6GHz 5G, but if you have special requirements for stronger features in this area, such as a fast 5G cellular connection in the United States, the iPad Pro would be a better option.
While the iPad Pro has a Thunderbolt port, the iPad Air has a regular USB-C port. Thunderbolt supports rates of up to 40Gb/s, while USB-C on the iPad Air has a maximum of 10Gb/s. Thunderbolt offers the possibility of interoperability with a significantly wider selection of Thunderbolt-only devices, such as external hard drives and displays, in addition to being noticeably quicker.
The two ports have the same appearance because Thunderbolt and USB-C are both backward-compatible. The majority of customers probably do not have Thunderbolt peripherals that can benefit from these speeds, despite the fact that Thunderbolt is far faster than the iPad Air’s default USB-C port. For those looking for the most port options, the iPad Air is once more the best choice.
The Apple Pencil 2, as well as Apple’s Smart Keyboard Folio and Magic Keyboard, are all compatible with both the iPad Air and iPad Pro. There is no reason to choose one model over the other when it comes to things like keyboards or trackpads because they both support the same accessories.
When the Apple Pencil is brought close to the screen, the new iPad Pro-only Apple Pencil hover function enables cursor-like interaction. As a result, this might be crucial information for serious note-takers, illustrators, and Apple Pencil fans.
It should be taken into account that the cost of the iPad will increase because add-ons like the Apple Pencil and Magic Keyboard must be purchased individually. Because of this, if the $799 64GB 11-inch iPad Pro is already out of your price range and you want a $299 Magic Keyboard as an accessory, you might have to choose the $599 iPad Air instead. This will lower the overall cost.
Others iPad Option
If the $599 price tag on the iPad Air is too much for you, you might want to think about the 10th-generation iPad, which starts at $449. The A14 Bionic chip, 4GB of memory, Center Stage, and a 10.9-inch display are all features of this iPad. It also works with the Magic Keyboard Folio and the first Apple Pencil.
The 10th generation iPad is a fantastic alternative to the mid to high-end iPads, delivering a balanced combination of functionality, although lacking features like a laminated display, the M1 CPU, and 8GB of RAM. The iPad mini, which costs $499 and has a smaller 8.3-inch display and the A15 CPU, is a better option if you want the smallest, most portable iPad.
For the majority of customers, the iPad Air is just the better choice in terms of value for money. For the majority of users, the iPad Pro’s extra $200 or so price tag won’t be worth it to obtain features like Face ID, a more flexible rear camera system, four speakers, a ProMotion display with refresh rates up to 120Hz, and Apple Pencil hover.
Some of the high-end capabilities of the iPad Pro, including LiDAR, the Ultra Wide back camera, bigger storage capacities and up to 16GB of memory, and Thunderbolt connectivity, will only be practically useful to a small subset of iPad users, and the majority of customers won’t ever use some of these technologies.
Beyond these specific situations, the iPad Air is the best choice and will be more than adequate for the demands of the majority of users. Users may enjoy an all-screen design, the M1 chip, useful features like USB-C and 5G connectivity, compatibility with the essential Apple accessories, and more with the iPad Air.