2024 iPad Pro May Flex An OLED Display And M4 Chip To Fuel Fresh AI Capabilities

Two angled iPad Pro tablets with keyboard covers on a blue and black background.
Apple is gearing up for its 'Let's Loose' event scheduled for next week (Tuesday, May 7), during which time it will almost definitely announce a refreshed lineup of iPad devices. Speculation has been all over the place, though the latest scuttlebutt is that there's a "strong possibility" that Apple's next-gen iPad Pro will burst onto the scene with a fancy new M4 chip.

It's an interesting rumor that originates from Bloomberg's Mark Gurman in his latest Power On newsletter. According to Gurman, Apple is accelerating its plans to push its custom M4 system-on-chip (SoC) out the door sometime this year, which will debut alongside several hardware refreshes, including a new batch of iMac, MacBrook Pro, and Mac mini systems.

"This year's Macs may not be the only AI-driven devices with M4 chips. I'm hearing there is a strong possiblity that the chip in the new iPad Pro will be the M4, not the M3. Better yet, I believe Apple will position the tablet as its first truly AI-powered device—and that it will tout each new product from then on as an AI device," Gurman states.

12.9-inch and 11-inch iPad Pro models on a black and blue background.

At first glance, one might assume this means that the next batch of iPad devices could skip over the M3 entirely, though that's not necessarily true. Should Apple decide to infuse its iPad Pro lineup with its upcoming M4 silicon, it could reserve the higher-end chip(s) for its priciest variants. In that same vein, the M4 could be reserved for just the Pro models, while injecting its regular iPad and iPad Air (and possibly even the iPad mini) with M3 chips.

As points of reference, Apple's latest top-tier iPad models consist of the 6th Gen iPad Pro 12.9-inch with M2 silicon, 4th Gen iPad Pro 11-inch with M2 silicon, and 10th Gen iPad (non-Pro) with an A14 Bionic chip inside. Meanwhile, the latest iPad Air model is the 5th Gen model with a 10.9-inch display and M1 silicon, while the latest iPad mini is the 6th Gen model with an 8.3-inch display and an A15 Bionic processor.

Gurman argues that by announcing a refreshed iPad Pro lineup powered Apple's M4 chip ahead of its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in June, the company can "lay out its AI chip strategy without distraction." It makes sense, especially when you consider that the tech industry quickly going all-in on AI, both in terms of hardware and software.

Related, the next round of iPad Pro devices are expected to embrace OLED displays, according to Gurman. OLED could be another major selling point, as well as justification for Apple to attach a premium price to its flagship tablets.