Apple A14 processor makes iPad Air 4 dramatically faster


iPad Air 4 launches later this month.
The iPad Air 4 offers a big speed boost over its predecessor.
Photo: Apple

The iPad Air 4 is the first computer of any kind unveiled with the Apple A14 processor. The tablet isn’t out yet, but an early Geekbench 5 benchmark score apparently shows it’s nearly 50% faster than its predecessor.

This bodes well for the iPhone 12, which is also expected to run Apple’s new chip.

iPad Air 4 performance is outstanding

Apple unveiled the iPad Air 4 at its September event. The $599 tablet/laptop has been redesigned with a larger screen than its predecessor. And a standout feature is the A14 processor.

Apple doesn’t announce the internal specs of its iPadOS devices, but benchmarking applications reveal these. And an entry for an “iPad13,2” appeared Friday in Primate Labs’ Geekbench 5 listing. That’s not a known Apple tablet, but it fits what we know about the iPad Air 4 and the A14.

The benchmarking app shows that the device scored a 4198 in the multi-core test. That’s 48% faster than the score the iPad Air 3 pulled in. Of course, that older tablet uses an A12 Bionic processor, which is two generations behind. So a significant jump in speed is to be expected.

The Apple A14 used in the iPad Air 4 apparently has 6 processor cores running at 2.99 GHz. The earlier tablet also has 6 cores but these run at 2.49 GHz.

Apple’s new chip was produced with a 5 nanometer process. This allows more transistors to be packed in without generating additional waste heat, making the chip more power efficient.

More RAM too

Apple also doesn’t reveal how much RAM goes into its tablets. The Geekbench 5 listing apparently revealed that the iPad Air 4 will have 4 GB of RAM.

That’s up from 3 GB in the third-generation version.

iPad Air 4 vs. 2020 iPad Pro

Many expressed disappointment that the 2020 iPad Pro, Apple’s top-tier tablet, uses an A12Z processor from 2018.

But this chip still keeps the device ahead of the iPad Air 4. Geekbench 5 multi-core scores for the iPad Pro go up to 4721. Compare that to the 4198 the Air 4 pulled in on the same test.

The Pro model boasts eight processor cores, though these run at 2.49 GHz. This tablet includes 6 GB of RAM.

In another comparison, Geekbench 5 scores for the just-released iPad 8, Apple’s budget model, go only as high as 2945.


Daily round-ups or a weekly refresher, straight from Cult of Mac to your inbox.

  • The Weekender

    The week's best Apple news, reviews and how-tos from Cult of Mac, every Saturday morning. Our readers say: "Thank you guys for always posting cool stuff" -- Vaughn Nevins. "Very informative" -- Kenly Xavier.