Some thoughts on the 2024 M4 iPad Pro

Adam Fields
9 min readMay 28, 2024


I upgraded my iPad Pro from a 2020 12.9” (non-M1, A12Z Bionic) model to a brand new 2024 M4 13”. Here are some initial impressions.

Holy forking shirtballs this thing is fast.

“Speed is a feature”.

There are a few kinds of speed that are relevant with respect to computing. There’s pure computational speed — how long it takes for the machine to do tasks that you’re directly driving. But also there’s background speed, how long you’re waiting for the machine to do things behind you. This latter is primarily interface lag, context switching, and the like. It’s arguably more important to the overall feel of speed and the complete experience of using a device. When I’m using my iPad, I’m pretty constantly switching between 6–8 apps, and shaving a few seconds off of each of those switches is *HUGE*. The M4 is “overpowered”, but it uses a lot of that power to make nearly every interaction with the device instantaneous. Combined with enough RAM to keep everything in memory (only on the 1 and 2 TB models, but this was enough to get me to opt for the 1TB for future-proofing even though I could make do with 512GB), there’s just no noticeable delay on anything. It’s often the case that I never really realize how much time this bleeds away from my day until I upgrade to a faster machine, and this is the biggest jump I’ve experienced in a while.

Also the networking gets a substantial boost (since 2020, anyway), the wifi is noticeably faster, and cellular is now 5G instead of LTE only. Since so many things are network-dependent these days, this also makes everything seem faster.

I suspect that Apple is going to announce more computing-intensive features for the iPad Pro at WWDC this year, but honestly even if not I’m still really happy having a faster iPad. The iPad is by far my favorite computing platform and I spend a few hours a day on it reading messages, articles, media, etc…


I have pretty much always used a matte screen protector on every iPad I’ve owned since the first generation, I don’t really like the glares of any glossy screens, and my preference is always going to be for a non-reflective coating.

So of course I had to try out the the nanotexture display. It is is pretty beautiful…. but




there are 100% some tradeoffs.

I’ll go out on a limb and say that it seems like the nanotexture screen is the wrong choice for nearly everyone, even if what you think you want is a non-reflective screen, and Apple likely knows this but maybe is ignoring a little bit how many people really don’t like glossy screens.

The nanotexture screen has a tiny little bit of drag, but still less than the matte texture of my screen protector, even after ~1 year. It feels uncannily too smooth for something this nonreflective.

The glossy border around the matte texture screen is really kind of unsettling. It looks like a border, but it’s a smooth transition from one to the other and it’s perfectly flat.

Sitting in a chair with the iPad on my lap in a room with an overhead light slightly behind me, every time I move the iPad or my head slightly so that the glare from the point light source of the overhead light becomes visible in the glossy frame, I hate it. (It doesn’t really reflect off the nanotexture part at all.) My initial impression of the glossy border was “this design decision is baffling” but after using it for a little while it went more to “this kinda sucks, really”. I don’t understand why they didn’t go all the way to the edge like on the studio display, this is a weird design choice. The only thing I can think of is that they didn’t want to have a notch because the front cameras can’t go under the textured surface, but I think that would have been preferable to this. My screen protector on the old iPP has a cutout notch for the Face ID sensor, and I mostly forgot it was there.

I use exclusively iCarez matte screen protectors on my devices, and I generally love them. They’re cheap, they look great, they’re easy to install, and they are very good about supporting new products quickly (the 2024 iPad ones were available before my iPad shipped:

I got the glossy one and put the matte screen on it, and looked at it side by side with the nanotexture one. The nanotexture surface is a LOT smoother — it feels basically like a glossy iPad, while the screen protector has a nice tiny bit of drag to it. The nanotexture surface does pick up some fingerprints, but they’re basically invisible when the screen is on. The screen protector doesn’t really pick up fingerprints and I rarely need to wipe it with anything other than my hand. It’s much much nicer not having the thick glossy border, though there still is a tiny little strip of glossy where the screen protector doesn’t quite extend to the edge. Also there’s no texture change between the matte and the border, which I find preferable. Indoors, I don’t really see too much difference in the screen quality, they both look very nice. Specular highlights are ever so slightly dimmer but less blurred on the nanotexture screen, but that doesn’t seem like a material difference. The place where it’s most noticeable is when the screen is very filled with black and the room lights are on, and then the nanotexture screen looks a lot better, but the only time I’ve encountered this in normal usage is with iphone apps that only take up the middle portion of the screen (read: pretty much only instagram and threads). You might notice it watching a dark movie or Game of Thrones episode in a bright room, it’s not noticeable to me in the dark.

I did some side by side tests outdoors in nearly direct sunlight, and it’s not great. The nanotexture surface definitely looks crisper outdoors, but also EVERY fingerprint and case mark on it which are nearly invisible indoors all become deeply visible outside. The one with the matte screen protector doesn’t have nearly as much even though that’s the one I’ve been using and touching the most for the past few days. Here’s a kicker though, which is driving my design nickpickiness batty — in addition to having the glossy border, the nanotexture screen surface extends slightly larger than the edge of the actual display to make another layered halo which is visible outside. (The big diagonal lines are shadows from my balcony fence and not anything about the display.)

I don’t like this

This decision started off difficult but got easier as I used both of them. The nanotexture screen looks gorgeous, but the tradeoffs didn’t seem worth it to me and I kept the glossy one to use with a matte screen protector. I still can’t find any actual information about whether you have to use the apple polishing cloth to clean it or it’s just recommended but any microfiber cloth will do, but I’d just prefer to not worry about it anyway given the other tradeoffs.

I thought long and hard about what it would take for me to make the opposite choice, and I think If I could clean the screen by wiping it with my shirt or whatever else I have handy, that might have been enough to tip the scales. I really don’t like the glossy border and I prefer the slightly draggy texture of the screen protector, but I might be able to get used to that. Having to keep track of a special cleaning cloth for a portable device is a substantial dealbreaker for me, much more so than with a static display where you can just keep it handy on the desk.

NB: I wrote a guide with tips on how to apply these screen protectors without bubbles.

A very small detail — the curvature of the rounded edge more closely (but still not exactly) matches the edge of the physical device. (New on the left)


The tradeoff for a matte screen (regardless of whether it’s the nanotexture surface or a matte screen protector) is slightly less deep blacks and lower overall contrast. That tradeoff is totally worth it to me to get rid of the glare spots and visible fingerprint marks on the glossy screen, regardless of how easy they are to clean off.

nanotexture (left) vs. old ipp with ~year-old matte screen protector (right). The black blob in the middle is my reflection. The color differences are not this stark in reality. The Magic Keyboard edges are lined up at the front, the new one sits quite a bit further back.

In all iterations, the new Tandem OLED screen really is gorgeous to use outside. Much whiter whites and blacker blacks than my phone and I can’t wait to have this display on my phone as well.

Weight and feel and cases

The new iPad is noticeably lighter, but not as much as I was expecting in practice because some of that weight has shifted to the cases. The new folio case is 291g vs the 252g of the old one (with the same Smarter Stand clip attached for both of them). With the folio case on, the new one is only about 1mm thinner than the old one, total weight is 875g vs 913g for the 2020 model. So the ipad itself is a good deal lighter and thinner, but I almost never use it without any case at all. With the Magic Keyboard attached, it’s about 2mm thinner, and over 100g lighter (1370g vs. 1249g).

The new Magic Keyboard is very nice, a massive improvement over the old one in every way except one — the angle is slightly backweighted and the screen sits further back away from the keyboard now so it’s not as steady when using it on my lap (usually in the passenger sear of a car or on a train). This is minor, but annoying.

The spine of the MK is exposed metal instead of fabric covered. It’s prettier this way, but I think it will also snag on my bag a little more. This is minor, but annoying.

Snazzy but snaggy

Having function keys on the Magic Keyboard is really nice.

The base and keys of the new MK are MUCH nicer, it’s metal instead of fabricky plastic.

It is driving my muscle memory batty that I can’t two-finger swipe on the touchpad of the Magic Keyboard to move the text insertion point on the iPad.


I plugged it into my old iPad to do the data transfer directly with thunderbolt 4 cable, and it said it was going to take 2 hours, which ended up being pretty accurate. This feels similar to my experience with transferring my last iPhone over a TB4 cable, which was that it really didn’t seem to be doing this nearly as fast as it should have been (around the same amount of data, too). So… that doesn’t seem to really work.

I got the new pencil pro, and it’s nice. I like to doodle but I don’t use the pencil too much for actual drawing, so I probably can’t take full advantage of the nice new positional features, but the old pencil doesn’t work on the new ipad so if you want one at all this is the one you have to get.

I don’t love this dance where I have to enter all of my validation codes from every registered Apple Pay card when switching to a new device. This speaks to how much Apple has streamlined the entire setup and migration process, which is otherwise mostly painless these days and now this tedious step sticks out like a sore thumb.

The included usb-c cable is black but the charger is still white and still underpowered.



It’s an iPad. It’s the best iPad they’ve ever made. If you like the iPad, you’ll love this. I love it. The nanotexture screen is probably not what you want.

I’ve included some Amazon links above, if you use one of those, I get a small commission.

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