The iPad Air 4 is a mid-tier tablet whereas the iPad Pro is the flagship model. So if you have the money to invest, the iPad Pro is the one you would choose but I wish it was this simple. To choose between the two you first need to know their similarities and differences.
The Price is always the key decision making factor when comparing products.
The new iPad Air 4:
Wi-Fi Starting from $599
Wi-Fi + Cellular Starting from $729
Apple says the WiFi + Cellular iPad Air 4 model has not been authorized by the FCC yet. And the company can’t sell it until it’s authorized. Most probably, Apple will be able to get it authorized before the iPad Airs go live for sale in October. However, chances are, you’ll either have to wait or buy the WiFi-only model.
The iPad Pro (2020)
Wi-Fi Starting from $799
Wi-Fi + Cellular Starting from $949
There isn’t much difference in price between the base iPad Pro and the iPad Air 4 with higher capacity. So it all comes down to their performance and looks and which suits your need.
iPad Air 4: What’s new?
The iPad Air lineup usually sits right in the middle of the lower-end iPad series and the high-end iPad Pros. That has changed with iPad Air 4. It has now scooched over a little bit towards the iPad Pro and encroached some of its territories.
For one, it has the same all-screen design. It also sports a better processor and comes in a variety of colors – Silver, Rose Gold, Space Grey, Green, Sky Blue. That is as Playful as it gets if you ask me.
The new iPad Air is driven by the all-new A14 Bionic chip with Neural Engine. This is the first device that sports the 5nm A14 chip. And it’s expected to be highly efficient. It comes with a 10.9-inch Liquid Retina display and supports the Apple Magic Keyboard and Apple Pencil 2 which is just great. The best thing they have done is replaced the lightning port with a USB-C port making the iPad Air universally compatible now.
There are remarkably high similarities between the two iPads, some of which are –
iPad Air 4 looks just like the iPad Pro. With the rounded corners, edge-to-edge displays, and identical dimensions, it is very tough to differentiate between the two. At the back, however, the camera modules clearly tell you which is which with the dual-camera setup of the iPad Pro and the single-camera of the iPad Air 4.
The best similarity is that both the iPad have a USB-C port which everyone has been asking for a while now from Apple and Apple finally delivered. That coupled with the smart connector in Air 4 makes both the tablets almost identical physically.
iPad Accessories Support
Thanks to the smart connector, the iPad Air 4 supports all the Pro iPad Accessories i.e. Apple Magic Keyboard and the Apple Pencil 2.
On the inside, there is quite a bit of difference between the two which, in the end, will help you choose one out of the pair. The main differences apart from the names are listed below –
The biggest advantage the iPad Pro has over the new iPad Air 4 is the ProMotion technology. It means that the iPad Pro has a 120 Hz ProMotion screen, while the iPad Air 4th gen sticks to the same old 60 Hz. Other than that both iPads feature the same display technology. The higher refresh rate makes the user experience way better but it is still not something you should base your decision to spend extra dollars on.
It is a well-known fact, no one buys a tablet for its camera. So the extra ultra-wide camera and the LiDAR scanner (sensor dedicated for Augmented Reality) that comes in the iPad Pro doesn’t really influence anyone’s decision and is definitely not worth the premium an average consumer would pay for the iPad Pro over the iPad Air 4. The 12 MP primary sensor is expected to be the same in the Air 4 as it is in the iPad Pro.
The 7 MP front camera is also the same for the tablets but the iPad Pro has the advantage of Face ID which enables it to take portrait photos if that is something that concerns you.
The new iPad Air 4 has a chip (A14 Bionic) with a higher number than the chip in the iPad Pro (A12Z Bionic). Apple has said how much better the A14 in Air 4 is over the previous generations but we still can’t know for a fact how the A14 performs compared to the A12Z in the iPad Pro.
Face ID vs Touch ID
To keep the cost in check, Apple continues to include Touch ID in the Air 4 but not in the round button below the screen. So where is it? It’s a part of the power button at the top which is a first for Apple. But it is probably a smart decision and works best for all the parties.
Base model and storage
The base storage of the iPad Air 4 is 64GB whereas the iPad Pro comes with a base storage of 128GB. For a casual user with normal browsing, light gaming, and editing – 64GB would work just fine although over a period of time it may feel getting cramped where you find yourself deleting apps to make space for new apps. This won’t be an issue for the base Pro with the 128GB being more than enough to fly through work.
The iPad Air 4, after 64GB, ships directly in 256GB which feels weird as there is a big gap between storage options. With the small price difference between the 256GB Air 4 and the base iPad Pro, I would recommend buying the base iPad Pro instead of the higher storage Air 4 unless 256GB is an absolute essential for you.
The new Air 4 comes with proper stereo speakers with one on the top and one at the bottom. This is a definite upgrade over the previous generations’ iPad but it is still not as much as the 4 speakers that the iPad Pro comes with. This although is not a big deal as a proper stereo speaker set still works very well for most situations.
So which one should you buy?
If you are not a Pro user, saving the money and considering the iPad Air 4 is what I would recommend as it does almost everything the iPad Pro can do but just not as good.
For a serious user who wants to get serious work done on their iPad and needs high storage to store their work – iPad Pro is the clear choice here. The storage and the display are the main key decision making factors here, so if you really want the 120Hz display and higher storage consider the iPad Pro.
Any other user should keep an eyes out for the release date of the iPad Air 4.