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M2 iPad Air actually isn’t the second-best iPad you can get

Published May 20th, 2024 12:05PM EDT
Apple iPad Pro
Image: Christian de Looper for BGR

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I’ve been in the market for an iPad for months and decided to wait for the M4 iPad Pro to come out before I get one. Well, the M4 iPad Pro is available in stores, but that’s not what I was actually waiting for. I want to see what iPadOS 18 has to offer, and I need to know if the M4 iPad Pro has exclusive features that other iPad models can’t take full advantage of.

Call it wishful thinking, but I’d love it if the M4 iPad Pro could replicate some of the things my MacBook Pro can do. I’d love to use the M4 iPad Pro for work. And by that, I mean that I’d love better multitasking from Apple’s iPadOS. I know that’s unlikely to happen, as Apple made it clear yet again that the iPad Pro won’t get more Mac-like features.

Come WWDC 2024, I’ll make my decision. But I already have a backup plan that doesn’t involve the M2 iPad Air. The iPad Air might seem like the second-best iPad in Apple’s lineup behind the OLED iPad Pro, but that’s not exactly the case. That’s because a better option exists: The M2 iPad Pro that Apple released in 2022.

As impressive as the M2 iPad Air might be, it’s still a downgraded version of the M2 iPad Pro. Rather than buy the new Air, I’d go for an M2 iPad Pro instead, as it has a few big advantages over the new iPad Air. And because Apple discontinued it, you’ll find it for better prices from third-party retailers that still have stock.

What’s so great about the M2 iPad Pro, you ask? Starting with the display, you get ProMotion support on the iPad Pro, and a mini LED screen if you go with the 12.9-inch version. When it comes to performance, the iPad Pro comes with 16GB of RAM if you can still find tablets with higher storage.

Also important are the USB-C port with Thunderbolt speeds, the four-speaker audio system, and the dual-lens camera of the M2 iPad Pro. These are features you won’t find on the M2 iPad Air.

Then there’s Face ID, a must-have feature in my book. Unfortunately, the iPad Air is stuck with Touch ID on the side, just like its predecessor.

Finally, the cellular model of the M2 iPad Pro still comes with a nano-SIM slot, while all the 2024 iPads that Apple has announced have eSIM connectivity only.

The M2 iPad Air has some perks of its own

The iPad Air has a few advantages over the M2 iPad Pro that are worth mentioning. The landscape camera placement might be better suited for some iPad users. Moreover, the iPad Air supports the Apple Pencil Pro, which the older M2 iPad Pro does not. There’s also the matter of color options if the iPad Pro colors are too boring for you.

I’ll also point out another important aspect: size and weight. The M2 iPad Air is lighter and thinner than the previous-generation iPad Pro.

M2 iPad Air features.
M2 iPad Air features. Image source: Apple Inc.

Finally, the iPad Air has the better price. The 11-inch model starts at $599, while the cheapest 13-inch version retails for $799. The M2 iPad Pro used to start at $799, but you’ll likely get it for much better prices. Still, you might end up paying more for it than a new Air unless you can find a good deal.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.