Not all M4 iPad Pro's are created equal — here are the hidden configurations you need to get more RAM and CPU cores

iPad Pro M4 hands-on
(Image credit: Future)

Apple's brand new M4 iPad Pro was unveiled at the company's May 7 Let Loose event this week, and that new chip was, of course, center stage. Yet a key detail in the iPad's specs means that not everyone will get access to the full-bore M4 chip, with its best configuration reserved for those who spend extra on a 1TB or 2TB storage option. 

The detail is strangely absent from the iPad Pro's pre-order page (unless you click on the 'What storage means' section), which only gives users information about the size, color, and storage of their device, as well as the option to choose a cellular model and that new nano-texture glass option. This means that unless you've stopped by the iPad's tech specs page before buying, you wouldn't have any idea that the two cheaper storage options come with a dumbed-down M4 chip. 

Don't choose the wrong M4

As per the iPad Pro's tech specs page, M4 iPad Pro models with 256GB or 512GB of storage only come with a 9-core CPU version of the M4 chip, featuring six efficiency cores and three performance cores. This model also only ships with 8GB of Unified Memory. 

If you want the 10-core CPU model Apple advertised during its event, you have to get the 1TB or 2TB storage options, which come with the four performance core-version of the M4 chip. While this variant also features 16GB of RAM, the 1TB and 2TB storage versions start at $1,599 and $1,999 respectively, making it a pretty expensive upgrade. 

All of that will be hard to stomach for prospective customers who are already absorbing a $200 price increase across the board for Apple's new best iPad, which costs $999 or $1,299 for the 11-inch and 13-inch models, up from $799 and $999 in the previous line. Those price increase reflect the new chip and the all-new Ultra Retina Display XDR, a tandem stack of OLED panels that provides the most advanced tablet display tech ever put in an iPad. It's impressive for sure, but that sneaky M4 chip quirk might give users some pause before buying. 

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Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design. Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9