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Apple iPad Air (2024): Apple miscounts the GPU cores

The Apple iPad Air 11 (2024) and iPad Air 13 (2024) may have a different GPU than Apple originally claimed, but the performance is the same.
Apple iPad Air (2024) Stage-Manager-240507

The Apple iPad Air 11 (2024) and iPad Air 13 (2024) were announced a month ago with a major upgrade over the Air (2022) – 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 specifications page on apple.com lists a 9-core GPU. However, the press release published on May 7th stated that the “M2 chip brings another big boost in performance to iPad Air, featuring a faster 8-core CPU and 10-core GPU”.

Apple has now become aware of the confusion regarding the new iPad Air GPU. The Californians say that the 2024 tablets actually only have 9 instead of 10 GPU cores. The original press release has been updated. However, the iPad Air 11 (2024) and iPad Air 13 (2024) with their M2 chipsets are still significantly faster than their M1 predecessors from 2022. Specifically, the page on apple.com states: “Apple-designed M2 has a 15 percent faster CPU, 25 percent faster graphics, and 50 percent more memory bandwidth than the previous generation“.

This still applies, especially the part about a 25 percent increase in graphics performance. The Apple iPad Air (2022) was only available in one size and only with the original M1 chipset with an 8-core GPU. According to the original press release, the M2 should be up to 35% faster. Presumably compared to the version with 10 GPU cores. The 10-core version is installed in MacBooks, the Mac Mini, the Vision Pro and the older iPad Pros from 2022. However, some of these devices are also optionally available with the weaker 8-core version. Here’s what an Apple spokesperson told 9to5Mac about the performance of the new iPad Air (2024):

“When combined with faster memory bandwidth, the new iPad Air is nearly 50 percent faster than the previous iPad Air with M1 for a wide range of productivity and creative tasks. And compared to iPad Air with A14 Bionic, the new iPad Air delivers up to 3x faster performance.”

The error in the reported core count isn’t ideal. But at least Apple didn’t promise buyers false performance numbers.

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Toni Hobrecht
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