Early benchmarks show that iPad Air's M1 chip is just as fast as expected

Ipad Air 5 Colors Render
Ipad Air 5 Colors Render (Image credit: Apple)

What you need to know

  • Apple's updated iPad Air benchmarks the same as other M1-powered devices.
  • Some had wondered whether Apple might underclock the M1 chip found in the iPad Air.
  • Apple's new iPad Air will go on sale on Friday, March 18.

Apple's new iPad Air goes on sale this coming Friday and early benchmarks appear to suggest that the new M1 chip inside is just as fast as it should be. This comes after some had wondered whether Apple might underclock the chip.

The new iPad Air will go on sale on Friday. March 18 and will be the first to make use of the M1 chip — the same chip that is already being used in the iPad Pro. That had people wonder whether it could be an underclocked chip, but early Geekbench 5 results show at isn't the case after all.

Here's what Apple had to say about the iPad Air's M1 chip during its announcement:

The breakthrough M1 chip in iPad Air delivers a giant performance boost to even the most demanding apps and workflows, with incredible power efficiency and all-day battery life.1 The 8-core CPU delivers up to 60 percent faster performance, and the 8-core GPU delivers up to 2x faster graphics performance compared to the previous iPad Air. Combined with the CPU and GPU, a 16-core Neural Engine powers advanced machine learning (ML) functions that enable next-level experiences. From editing multiple streams of 4K video, to playing graphics-intensive games, redesigning a room in 3D, and more realistic augmented reality (AR), the performance of M1 enables users to do more than ever with iPad Air.

According to benchmark scores first spotted by MacRumors, the new iPad Air's Apple silicon is good for single-core and multi-core scores of approximately 1,700 and 7,200, respectively. Those numbers put the iPad Air on par with the performance the same chip manages in the M1-powered iPad Pro.

The new iPad Air also comes in different colors, adds 5G connectivity, and features Center Stage support thanks to an upgraded 12-megapixel front camera, all making it the best iPad Air yet.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.