iPad Pro M4 Display: Complete Review

In this article, we will delve into the comprehensive features of the iPad Pro M4’s display. From its striking Ultra Retina XDR screen to the groundbreaking inclusion of hardware-accelerated ray tracing and dynamic caching, we explore how these enhancements not only improve visual fidelity but also expand the functional versatility of the iPad Pro M4. Aimed at professionals and enthusiasts alike, this review will cover everything from technical specifications to real-world applications, ensuring you understand why the iPad Pro M4’s display is considered top-of-the-line in the realm of tablet technology.

Overview of the Display Technology

The iPad Pro M4 is equipped with the latest Ultra Retina XDR display, a significant enhancement over its predecessor. This display technology is renowned for its ability to deliver extreme dynamic range and pinpoint precision in brightness and color. It achieves an impressive peak brightness of up to 1600 nits for HDR content, which allows for stunning visuals in various lighting conditions. The display also boasts a remarkable 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio, ensuring deep blacks and brilliant whites, crucial for professionals working with high-quality visuals.

Resolution Specifics

The iPad Pro M4 comes in two sizes, each with a specific screen resolution tailored to maximize the capabilities of the Ultra Retina XDR technology. The 12.9-inch model offers a resolution of 2732 x 2048 pixels, resulting in an impressive 264 pixels per inch (PPI). This high pixel density is crucial for professionals who require precision for detailed graphics work, such as digital artists, designers, and photographers. The clarity provided at this resolution ensures that fine details are crisply rendered, which is essential for accurate color grading, photo editing, and graphic design.

Comparison with Liquid Retina XDR

The previous iPad Pro model, the M2, featured the Liquid Retina XDR display, which was itself a marvel in providing excellent color accuracy and brightness. However, the Ultra Retina XDR on the M4 advances further by increasing both the peak brightness and the contrast ratio. While the Liquid Retina XDR was highly praised for its performance, the Ultra Retina XDR pushes the boundaries further by enhancing fine details and color fidelity, making it especially beneficial for tasks that demand photographic precision and subtle gradations in visuals.

Key Features of the M4 Display

Peak Brightness and Contrast Ratios

The iPad Pro M4 display features groundbreaking specifications in terms of brightness and contrast, setting a new benchmark for what professionals can expect from a mobile device. The Ultra Retina XDR display boasts a peak brightness of up to 1600 nits when viewing HDR content, which is substantially higher than many standard displays and even surpasses many professional monitors. This high level of brightness ensures that visuals are not only vibrant but also distinctly visible in various lighting conditions, from dimly lit rooms to bright outdoor environments.

The contrast ratio of the display is equally impressive, reaching up to 1,000,000:1. This high contrast ratio provides deep blacks and bright whites, critical for distinguishing fine details in images and videos. It enhances the depth and dimensionality of the content, which is particularly important in fields like digital cinema and professional photography, where visual precision is paramount.

Color Technologies

The iPad Pro M4 is equipped with a display that supports the P3 wide color gamut, which provides a broader range of colors compared to the standard sRGB spectrum used in many other displays. This technology allows for more vibrant and accurate color reproduction, particularly in the greens and reds, making images appear more vivid and lifelike. The P3 color space is increasingly used in the film and photography industries, which makes its inclusion in the iPad Pro M4 particularly beneficial for professionals in these fields.

In addition to the wide color gamut, the iPad Pro M4 utilizes advanced color accuracy technologies that ensure colors are rendered true to life. This is crucial for tasks that depend on precise color matching, such as digital art and design projects. The display is factory-calibrated to ensure that it meets strict color standards, which guarantees consistency across devices and workflows.

Color accuracy is fundamental for creative professionals who rely on their display to reflect true-to-source colors for editing, design, and production tasks.

ProMotion Technology

ProMotion allows for a dynamic refresh rate, which means the display can adjust how often the screen updates its image based on the type of content being viewed. This technology supports refresh rates up to 120Hz, doubling the standard 60Hz refresh rate found in many other devices. The higher refresh rate enables smoother scrolling, greater responsiveness, and more fluid motion in animations and video playback.

For artists and designers working with applications like Procreate or Adobe Photoshop on the iPad, the enhanced refresh rate means that strokes made with the Apple Pencil appear on the screen with virtually no lag, closely mimicking the feeling of drawing on paper. This immediacy improves accuracy and the overall drawing experience, making digital art creation more intuitive.

Furthermore, the adaptive aspect of ProMotion technology means that the iPad Pro M4 is not constantly operating at 120Hz; instead, it adjusts depending on what you are doing. This smart adjustment is beneficial for battery life, as the device conserves power by lowering the refresh rate when high rates are not necessary, such as when displaying static images or reading text.

Hardware-Accelerated Ray Tracing

One of the most groundbreaking features in the iPad Pro M4's display is hardware-accelerated ray tracing. Ray tracing is a rendering technique that simulates the way light interacts with objects in a virtual environment to create highly realistic lighting and shadow effects. By processing these calculations directly through the hardware rather than software, the iPad Pro M4 achieves much faster and more energy-efficient rendering. This allows for incredibly life-like visual effects in real-time applications, a feature previously limited to high-end PCs and gaming consoles.

For professionals working in graphic design, animation, and game development, hardware-accelerated ray tracing on a portable device like the iPad Pro M4 opens up new possibilities for creating detailed, photorealistic images and animations on the go. This capability is crucial for professionals who need to implement complex lighting and reflections that can react dynamically to environment changes in their visual content.

Dynamic Caching

Dynamic caching is another innovative technology utilized in the iPad Pro M4. This technology optimizes the use of on-chip memory to increase the efficiency of data access during intensive tasks. By intelligently allocating memory resources based on the current demands of the applications in use, dynamic caching helps to speed up processing times and reduce load times significantly.

The impact of dynamic caching is especially noticeable in applications that require high levels of data throughput, such as video editing, 3D modeling, and large-scale graphic design. For instance, when editing multiple streams of 4K video, dynamic caching allows for smoother playback and faster editing capabilities, as the necessary data can be accessed more swiftly and efficiently. This reduces the likelihood of buffering and lag, ensuring a smoother workflow and allowing creative professionals to work more effectively without disruption.

Optional Nano-texture Glass

For users who often work in bright environments, the iPad Pro M4 offers an optional nano-texture glass. This feature is designed to reduce glare without compromising the crispness and clarity of the display. The nano-texture finish scatters light to minimize glare, making it easier to see the screen in various lighting conditions, from bright office environments to outdoor settings.

This option is particularly valuable for professionals like photographers and video editors who require accurate color representation and detail visibility under all circumstances. The nano-texture glass ensures that they can work effectively no matter where they are, enhancing productivity and the overall user experience.

Capabilities for External Displays up to 6K

One of the most significant features for professionals in the iPad Pro M4 is its ability to connect to external displays with resolutions up to 6K. This feature is supported through the Thunderbolt 3 port, which can handle the high data bandwidth required by large, high-resolution displays. For professionals working in video editing, graphic design, or other visual arts, the ability to output to a 6K display means a vastly improved workspace for detailed editing tasks.


The iPad Pro M4 introduces groundbreaking advancements in display technology with its Ultra Retina XDR screen, setting a new standard for professional tablets. The device’s 1600 nits of peak brightness, 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio, and P3 wide color gamut ensure unmatched visual quality, making it ideal for professionals in visual arts, photography, and video production. The inclusion of ProMotion technology, with an adaptive refresh rate of up to 120Hz, enhances the smoothness and responsiveness of the display, providing a fluid user experience for both professional tasks and general use.

Hardware-accelerated ray tracing and dynamic caching further elevate the M4’s capabilities, allowing for sophisticated graphical computations that can keep pace with desktops in some respects. The design improvements, including the option for nano-texture glass, not only enhance the visual experience but also add to the practicality and elegance of the device.

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