iPad Pro M2 vs iPad Pro M1: what's new in 2022

Should you rush out and get the M2, or skip this one and wait for the next generation?

Apple iPad Pro M2
(Image credit: Apple)

Apple's most powerful iPads have just been upgraded with new M2 processors, making them the fastest iPads Apple has ever made. The iPad Pro M2 is available in two sizes, 11 inches and 12.9 inches, and there are some significant improvements. Unfortunately in markets outside the US, there's also a significant price increase too.

Here's what you need to know. 

M2 iPad Pro vs M1 iPad Pro: price and availability

The iPad Pro M2 is on sale from 26th October, priced from £899 / $799 / AUD$1,399 for the 11-inch model or £1,249 / $1,099 / AUD$1,899 for the 12.9-inch model. 

The M1 launched in May 2021 with a starting price of £749 / $799 / AU$1,199, rising to £999 / $1,099 / $1,649 for the 12.9-inch version. As you can see, the M2 prices are quite significantly higher outside the US due the the current strength of the US dollar.

Apple Pencil with iPad Pro and keyboard

(Image credit: Apple)

M2 iPad Pro vs M1 iPad Pro: design and display

The M2s look identical to the M1s, but their displays have a new feature: Apple Pencil Hover, which can detect the pencil before it touches the display. But in terms of design and dimensions they're unchanged: the two models are 47.6 x 178.5 x 5.9mm and 280.6 x 214.9 x 6.4mm respectively, with the 11-inch models coming in at 466g and the 12.9-inch ones weighing 682g. The lack of design changes means previous generation accessories and cases will fit perfectly.

The displays are the same as before in terms of resolution and colour. The 11-inch gets a 2,388 x 1,668, 120Hz ProMotion IPS display with 600 nits brightness and the 12.9-inch has mini-LED, delivering 2,048 x 2,732 and 1,000 nits, rising to 1,600 nits in peak conditions.

Apple iPad Pro 2021 12.9 review

(Image credit: Apple)

M2 iPad Pro vs M1 iPad Pro: cameras

The camera modules in the M1 and M2 iPads are identical. Every model has a twin-camera setup on the back with a 12MP wide and 10MP ultra-wide sensor, and there's a 12MP selfie shooter on the front. 

The new processor does enable some new features, though. The M2 models can record ProRes video (the M1 could transcode it from recordings, but not capture it live), and transcoding is much faster. 

M2 iPad Pro vs M1 iPad Pro: processor, battery and connectivity

Apple has brought out its Big Chart of Charts to sing the praises of its new processor. Last year's models run on 8-core M1s with 8-core GPUs; the new ones have 8-core M2s with 10-core GPUs. According to Apple, CPU performance is up by 15% and GPU performance by 35%. Both generations promise 10 hours of battery life.

Connectivity has been improved in the new M2 iPads. The 2021 models had Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.1 and 4G (in the Cellular models); the 2022 M2s have Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.3 and 5G.

M2 iPad Pro vs M1 iPad Pro: should you upgrade?

If you already have the iPad Pro from 2021, the upgrades here are incremental – and if you're outside the US, expensive. Unless you really need that ProRes video and improved Apple Pencil support, your current iPad Pro will last you for many more years without making you miss out on anything crucial – and next year's iPads are likely to be the tick in Apple's tick/tock upgrade cycle, where big changes only come every second generation.

If you don't already have a Pro, check out the iPad Air (2022) first. Despite a hefty price increase it's still considerably cheaper than the 11-inch iPad Pro M2, and its 10.9-inch display is not significantly smaller. It's an M1 rather than an M2 but as someone who uses one daily, I've never wished it was faster or more powerful. It remains Apple's best tablet for power users who don't need or can't justify the increasingly expensive Pros.

Writer, musician and broadcaster Carrie Marshall has been covering technology since 1998 and is particularly interested in how tech can help us live our best lives. Her CV is a who’s who of magazines, newspapers, websites and radio programmes ranging from T3, Techradar and MacFormat to the BBC, Sunday Post and People’s Friend. Carrie has written thirteen books, ghost-wrote two more and co-wrote another seven books and a Radio 2 documentary series. When she’s not scribbling, she’s the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR (havrmusic.com (opens in new tab)).