Apple shows off M4 chip and new iPads

Apple today announced the fourth-generation of its in-house silicon and a range of new iPads, thinner and brighter than ever, which show what the M4 do. Hardware ray-tracing in games! On a tablet!

It also features an entirely new display engine to drive the stunning precision, color, and brightness of the breakthrough Ultra Retina XDR display on iPad Pro. A new CPU has up to 10 cores, while the new 10-core GPU builds on the next-generation GPU architecture introduced in M3, and brings Dynamic Caching, hardware-accelerated ray tracing, and hardware-accelerated mesh shading to iPad for the first time. 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.

The new Apple Pencil Pro sounds excellent. Arty stuff has been my killer app with iPads, and I only go back to the computer because, well, I'll get to that in a moment.

A new sensor in the barrel can sense a user's squeeze, bringing up a tool palette to quickly switch tools, line weights, and colors, all without interrupting the creative process. A customhaptic engine delivers a light tap that provides confirmation when users squeeze, use double-tap, or snap to a Smart Shape for a remarkably intuitive experience. A gyroscope allows users to roll Apple Pencil Pro for precise control of the tool they're using. Rotating the barrel changes the orientation of shaped pen and brush tools, just like pen and paper. And with Apple Pencil hover, users can visualize the exact orientation of a tool before making a mark.

IPads didn't need more performance. They're ahead of the pack anyway. I can see that work just got better and faster if I'm doing the exact work that Apple has in mind, like editing in Final Cut. But the thing that always stops me in my tracks with the iPad is contact with real-world workflows. Apps are still sandboxed; you simply cant push around files the way you need to get work done. Until we can use one of these things in a standard "UseThisOne-FINAL-production-4.psd"-type file toilet it's just going to end up another $1000 Moleskine if I buy one. Which I certainly shall.

Previously: Gorgeous calligraphy using iPad and modified Apple Pencil