news · 04/06/2024 0

The Apple iPad Air (2024) has a 9-core GPU, not 10-core as originally announced


The Apple iPad Air 11 (2024) and iPad Air 13 (2024) were announced a month ago with one key upgrade over the 2022 Air – the Apple M2 chipset replaced the M1. However, it turns out that M2 is not quite what we originally thought and what Apple originally announced.

The specs page on apple.com lists a 9-core GPU, while the press release published on May 7 still reads that the “M2 chip brings another big boost in performance to iPad Air, featuring a faster 8-core CPU and 10-core GPU”.

Details on iPad Air’s M2 chip from apple.comDetails on iPad Air’s M2 chip from apple.com

Indeed, looking at GFXBench Wild Life Extreme Unlimited, for example, the iPad Air 2024 gets a 6.2K score, while a MacBook Air with an M2 chip gets either 5.7K or 6.8K, depending on the exact M2 version.

In case you missed it, the M2-powered MacBook Air comes with either an 8-core or a 10-core GPU (the latter being a $100 upgrade), hence the two different scores.

And note that there was no 9-core option, at least not until now. The scores of the iPad Air fall right in the middle of the 8 and 10-core MacBooks, so it very much looks like a 9-core GPU rather than a typo on the specs page. Of course, the comparison between iPadOS and macOS is not perfect, but it appears that the original press release had it wrong.

For what it’s worth, we don’t think that this will have a significant impact on performance. The 11″ and 13″ displays on the new Airs still run at only 60Hz, so even the 9-core GPU might not be used to its full potential. That said, Apple should address the situation and clear things up.

The 2024 iPad Pros were announced on the same day as the two Airs. If you buy a Pro with 256GB or 512GB, you get an Apple M4 with a 9-core CPU (note: CPU, not GPU). But if you get a 1TB or 2TB slate, you get an M4 with a 10-core CPU (and double the RAM).

This isn’t the case with the Airs – you get the same M2 chip, regardless of how much storage you pay for. However, it’s notable that Apple and TSMC still have to rely on binning, even for such an old design (the M2 launched in 2022 using the TSMC N5P node).

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