Apple introduces its new M4 chip - A chip designed for AI

By Zernab Farooqi - May 14, 2024

Apple has announced the latest chip M4 to the all-new iPad Pro with phenomenal performance. M4 is a system on a chip (SoC) which was built using second-generation 3-nanometer technology that improves Apple silicon's industry-leading power efficiency and makes the iPad Pro's incredibly thin design possible. Additionally, it has a completely new display engine that powers the Ultra Retina XDR display on the iPad Pro, which boasts remarkable color, brightness, and accuracy. There are up to 10 cores in the new CPU. For the first time, iPad users can now enjoy hardware-accelerated mesh shading, hardware-accelerated ray tracing, and dynamic caching thanks to the new 10-core GPU that builds on the next-generation GPU architecture debuted in the M3. With a maximum speed of 38 trillion operations per second, the M4 has Apple's fastest neural engine ever, surpassing the neural processing unit found in any AI PC today. The new iPad Pro is an incredibly strong artificial intelligence device because to the combination of M4, higher memory bandwidth, next-generation machine learning (ML) accelerators in the CPU, and a high-performance GPU.

According to Johny Srouji, senior vice president of Hardware Technologies at Apple, "The new iPad Pro with M4 is a great example of how building best-in-class custom silicon enables breakthrough products."

Apple introduces its new M4 chip - A chip designed for AI

“The iPad Pro's innovative display and sleek design are made possible by the M4's power-efficient performance and new display engine, while significant upgrades to the CPU, GPU, memory system, and neural engine make the M4 ideally suited for the newest AI-enabled apps. The iPad Pro is now the most powerful gadget of its kind due to this latest chip.”

Enabling the New iPad Pro with New Technologies

The M4 iPad Pro offers a significant improvement in performance compared to the M2 model. It is composed of 28 billion transistors, which are built with a second-generation 3-nanometer technology, hence increasing the power efficiency of Apple silicon. The Ultra Retina XDR display, a cutting-edge display made possible by merging the light of two OLED panels, has remarkable precision, color accuracy, and brightness uniformity due to an entirely new display engine built using advanced technologies included in the M4.

A New 10-core CPU

The new M4 CPU features up to 10 cores, with four performance cores and six efficiency cores. With deeper execution engines for efficiency cores and broader decode and execution engines for performance cores, the next-generation cores provide better branch prediction. Additionally, improved, next-generation ML accelerators are a feature of both types of cores.

Compared to the powerful M2 in the previous iPad Pro, the M4 offers up to 1.5 time’s quicker CPU performance. Compared to the potent M2 in the previous iPad Pro, the M4 offers up to 1.5 time’s quicker CPU performance. M4 improves performance across professional workflows, whether using Logic Pro to deal with complex orchestral music files or LumaFusion to apply challenging effects to 4K video.

GPU gives the iPad Pro New Features

The next-generation graphics architecture of the M3 series of processors is expanded upon by the new 10-core GPU of the M4. It has Apple's revolutionary Dynamic Caching, which significantly raises the average GPU utilization by dynamically allocating local memory in real time and hardware. Performance for even the most demanding pro apps and games is greatly improved by this.

For the first time, hardware-accelerated ray tracing is available on the iPad, allowing for even more realistic reflections and shadows in games and other visually appealing content. For the first time on the iPad, hardware-accelerated ray tracing allows for even more lifelike shadows and reflections in games and other graphically complex applications. Games and graphics-intensive apps may now include more visually complex scenarios thanks to hardware-accelerated mesh shading, which is also integrated into the GPU and offers increased capabilities and efficiency in geometry processing. With M4, pro rendering performance in programs such as Octane gets a huge boost and may reach four times quicker speeds compared to M2. The CPU and GPU improvements in M4 keep Apple silicon's industry-best performance per watt. With only half the power, M4 can perform at par with M2. Additionally, the M4 requires only a quarter of the power to achieve the same performance as the latest PC chip in a light and thin laptop.

Apple introduces its new M4 chip - A chip designed for AI

The Strongest Neural Engine in History

The M4 processor features an extremely fast Neural Engine, an IP block designed to speed up applications involving artificial intelligence. With a remarkable 38 trillion operations per second, this is Apple's most powerful neural engine ever. It is 60 times faster than the first neural engine found in the A11 Bionic. The Neural Engine, when combined with the high-performance GPU, higher-bandwidth unified memory, and next-generation ML accelerators in the CPU, makes the M4 an extremely powerful chip for AI. Additionally, the new iPad Pro enables users to quickly and on-device accomplish remarkable AI tasks by using iPadOS AI features like Live Captions, which provides real-time audio captions, and Visual Look Up, which recognizes items in images and videos.

In a 4K video while using Final Cut Pro, iPad Pro with M4 can easily separate the subject from its background with just a single tap. Moreover, in Staffpad, it can also create musical notation in real time automatically by just listening to someone play the piano. Inference tasks may also be performed effectively and confidentially, with minimal impact on app memory, performance, and battery life. Compared to other neural processing units in AI PCs today, the neural engine in the M4 is Apple's most powerful yet.

Advanced Media Engine for Smooth, Efficient Streaming

The most advanced Media Engine available for iPad is found in the M4. It not only supports the most widely used video codecs, such as H.264, HEVC, and ProRes, but it also offers hardware acceleration for AV1 to the iPad a first. This enables streaming services to play back high-definition videos with greater power efficiency.

Environmental Friendly

Apple has high requirements for energy economy, and the all-new iPad Pro meets those criteria and offers all-day battery life thanks to the power-efficient performance of M4. As a result, it requires less time to be plugged in and uses less energy overall in its lifespan.

As of right now, Apple's worldwide corporate activities are carbon neutral. By 2030, the company wants to achieve carbon neutrality throughout the whole manufacturing supply chain and product life cycle.


Zernab Farooqi

My name is Zernab Farooqi and I am from Lahore, Pakistan. I graduated from Punjab University in Lahore with a master's degree in human resource management in 2016. I am honest with my work. I am a Multitasker, a positive thinker, and have a "Can do" attitude. My hobbies are traveling, listening to music, cooking, gaming, photography, and writing.