Apple’s M4 Chip: What You Need to Know

apple m4 chip

Apple today unveiled its new M4 chip, powering its newest iPad Pro models. Here’s an overview of this newest version of Apple Silicon and what makes it so great.

“The new iPad Pro with M4 is a great example of how building best-in-class custom silicon enables breakthrough products,” said Johny Srouji, Apple’s senior vice president of Hardware Technologies, in a statement.

“The power-efficient performance of M4, along with its new display engine, makes the thin design and game-changing display of iPad Pro possible, while fundamental improvements to the CPU, GPU, Neural Engine, and memory system make M4 extremely well suited for the latest applications leveraging AI. Altogether, this new chip makes iPad Pro the most powerful device of its kind.”

Key Features of the M4 Chip

Architecture and Performance

  • 10-Core CPU: Includes up to four performance cores and six efficiency cores, with enhanced branch prediction and deeper execution engines.
  • Performance Boost: Offers up to 1.5 times faster CPU performance compared to the previous M2 chip, improving workflows in high-demand applications like Logic Pro and Final Cut Pro.

Graphics and Rendering Capabilities

  • 10-Core GPU: Builds on the next-generation architecture with features like Dynamic Caching and hardware-accelerated ray tracing, bringing advanced graphics capabilities to the iPad for the first time.
  • Enhanced Rendering: Dramatically increases performance for professional apps and games, with capabilities like mesh shading for more complex visual scenes.

Neural Engine and AI Performance

  • Enhanced Neural Engine: Features a 16-core design capable of performing up to 38 trillion operations per second, significantly speeding up AI-related tasks.
  • AI Enhancements: Supports advanced AI features in iPadOS such as Live Captions and Visual Look Up, enhancing user interaction with media content.

Display and Media Technologies

  • Advanced Display Engine: Supports the Ultra Retina XDR display with improved colour accuracy and brightness, powered by new display technologies that enable stunning visual experiences.
  • Media Engine: Supports popular video codecs and introduces hardware acceleration for AV1, optimizing high-resolution video playback from streaming services.

Energy Efficiency and Environmental Impact

  • Power Efficiency: Maintains industry-leading performance per watt, using significantly less power compared to similar PC chips, which contributes to longer battery life and reduced environmental impact.

Additional Innovations

  • External Project Support: Allows users to work directly from external drives via Thunderbolt, enhancing storage flexibility and project portability.
  • Compatibility: Fully integrated with the latest iPad Pro features, including support for the new Apple Pencil Pro for interactive media creation.

With M4 powering the iPad Pro, we really need iPadOS to step up to the plate. Let’s wait and see what Apple has in store for iPadOS 18 at WWDC next month. Please make iPadOS on iPad Pro bring more macOS features, for the love of god. I can’t imagine spending over $3,600 on a maxed out iPad Pro just to watch Netflix and browse Facebook.

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