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The new iPad Pro’s surprise isn’t only an OLED screen, but an M4 CPU

A big iPad Pro rumor dropped over the weekend that I didn’t see coming. A well-known Apple reporter said the OLED iPad Pro that will launch on May 7th will feature a new M4 System-on-Chip (SoC) instead of the expected M3 chipset.

As stunning as the claim might have been, I realized it made complete sense. The OLED iPad Pro delay, the special launch event, and the short period between the iPad event and WWDC 2024… the M4 upgrade explains it all. Also, reporter Mark Gurman said the M4 upgrade is all about generative AI coming to Apple’s ecosystem of devices. That’s what ties everything together.

However, while I saw these puzzle pieces making sense, we had no real evidence to support Gurman’s claim. Now, however, it turns out Apple might have provided the missing pieces via its own code. Findings in iPadOS 17.5 beta files indicate that Apple is indeed skipping a generation of M-series chips and moving straight to the M4 in its upcoming OLED iPad Pro.

A few weeks ago, 9to5Mac found display firmware for four unreleased iPad models in iPadOS 17.5 beta files under these identifiers: iPad16,3, iPad16,4, iPad16,5, and iPad16,6.

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We’re looking at four models, which probably account for the Wi-Fi and Cellular versions of the upcoming 11-inch and 13-inch OLED iPad Pro. That’s nothing out of the ordinary, but the codenames might hint at an M4 chip upgrade.

The blog explains that the iPad Air 5 and 2021 iPad Pro share a similar identifier: “iPad13,x.” The “X” part identifies each separate model. The “13” might stand for the M1 chip. That “13” also appears in M1 Macs’ identifiers.

Furthermore, the M2 devices have “14” in their names. The 2022 iPad Pros get “iPad14,x” codes. The 2022 MacBook Air is known as Mac14,5 in code. Move to the M3 SoC, and you’ll get the “15” label, which only applies to Macs for the time being.

You probably see where this is going. The four purported OLED iPad Pros found in iPadOS 17.5 code moved to “16.” Therefore, they almost certainly pack the M4 chip rather than the M3 SoC.

If that’s not enough, 9to5Mac provides another piece of evidence that seems to confirm the M4 upgrade. The blog mentions an anonymous leaker posting the purported roadmap of Apple’s SoCs for tablets on a private X account. They said the iPad Air 6 will feature the T8112 chip or the M2. But the iPad Pro would get a T8132 chip instead of the expected M3 upgrade, identified as T8122.

This information dropped a few weeks ago, long before Gurman’s M4 claim from the weekend.

It sure seems like the OLED iPad Pro will feature Apple’s next-gen M4 chip. But, as I said before, we’re still working with unofficial information. Nothing is set in stone until Apple announces it. Thankfully, we don’t have that much longer to wait since Apple’s OLED iPad Pro event will stream online next Tuesday.

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