First M4 iPad Pro benchmarks show 21% performance increase over M3


Apple M4 processor
Apple M4 offers a boost in performance.
Image: Apple

Benchmarks giving an early look at the performance of the Apple M4 processor in the 2024 iPad Pro reveal that the new chip is 21% faster than its predecessor.

The processor launched in the latest iPad but is expected to make its way to Mac later this year.

M4 continues long string of Apple performance improvements

The M4 is built on second-generation three-nanometer technology. It has up to four performance cores and includes six efficiency cores — two more than M3. It’s intended to be even more power efficient than its predecessor.

When Apple unveiled the chip on Tuesday, it didn’t compare it to the M3. Instead, it said, “M4 delivers up to 1.5x faster CPU performance over the powerful M2 in the previous iPad Pro.”

Those wondering how much the processor improves over the M3 that debuted in MacBooks just seven months ago now have a (preliminary) answer. Geekbench 6 scores found on the Primate Lab website (via X) show that the M4 earned a 14,677 on the Multi-Core test. For comparison, the M3 MacBook Pro scored 12,102 on that same test, according to Engadget, so the new one did 21% better.

For those thinking of upgrading, data from Primate Labs shows M4 is 50% faster than M2 and it’s 74% better than M1 on that same test. It’s clear proof that even though the M series started out strong in 2020, Apple has nevertheless been able to improve on it year after year.

The M4’s Geekbench 6 Single-Core score was 3,767. The M3 MBA scored 3,190, so the newer processor came in 18% better. This comparison more clearly shows the amount of improvement to each CPU core. The Multi-Core score is affected by Apple adding more cores to the latest chip.

And the Single-Core test allows an interesting cross-platform comparison. The Intel i9-14900KF scored under 3,330 on that same test. Of course, that gaming chip has more cores than M4.

Other specs revealed by Geekbench 6 show that each CPU core runs at 4.4 GHz. The chip has 16GB of RAM, which means the iPad Pro it’s installed in has at least 1TB of storage.

Benchmarks matter

While benchmark tests don’t always reflect real-world performance, they are a strong indicator.  Especially when the chips being compared run the same operating system.

But note that these scores are preliminary. After its big announcement on Tuesday, the 2024 iPad Pro is just now reaching reviewers so the publication of their reviews won’t be for several more days. It’s possible final benchmark scores from reviewers will be even higher than these early ones. The tablet with its new M4 chip won’t get to customers until May 15.

Apple M4: An emphasis on AI

Part of the upgrades in the new processor are intended to make it better at running artificial intelligence software.

At its announcement, Apple said, “M4 has Apple’s fastest Neural Engine ever, capable of up to 38 trillion operations per second, which is faster than the neural processing unit of any AI PC today. Combined with faster memory bandwidth, along with next-generation machine learning (ML) accelerators in the CPU, and a high-performance GPU, M4 makes the new iPad Pro an outrageously powerful device for artificial intelligence.”

We don’t yet have benchmark scores to indicate definitively how well the processor will run AI software. But Apple is expected to unveil iPadOS 18 at WWDC24 in June, and Apple CEO Tim Cook himself strongly hinted that new features in all the company’s operating systems will heavily focus on AI.

Coming to Mac

The M4 launched in iPad Pro — an unprecedented move — but leaks indicate it’ll appear in Macs starting this autumn.

The end of 2024 and the beginning of 2025 will bring “new iMacs, a low-end 14-inch MacBook Pro, high-end 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros, and Mac minis — all with M4 chips,” reported Bloomberg in April.

Of course, these won’t all use the basic version of the processor that’s in the iPad Pro. Expect to see M4 Pro, M4 Max, etc. in the coming months.

Apple M4 processor specs
Highlights of the Apple M4 processor. (Click/tap for a larger image)
Image: Apple


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