I’ve been using the iPad as a main device since I purchased a 9″ iPad Pro but my 2018 12.9″ iPad Pro really locked in my love of iPad as my main computer. The iPad Pro is not a cheap computer though. Today we’re going to compare my 2018 iPad Pro with the M1 iPad Pro. Should you purchase the M1 today or will the 2018 or 2020 be okay for you?
What Do You Do?
The first step when evaluating a large purchase like this is to think about what you’ll use the device for. Much of my days on my iPad are spent writing. Whether it’s scripts for Youtube or emails or code, I write a lot. A few hours a week are spent editing and rendering videos. Yes rendering video on the M1 iPad Pro is faster than previous models, but it’s not so much faster that my mind was blown when I upgraded. It’s noticeable, but don’t fool yourself about how much extra power you’re going to get out of it.
Another part of my week is spent transferring files to my iPad Pro from my camera or my iPhone. For my iPhone footage, using AirDrop is plenty fast and often I record early and can let files sync overnight via Files. Even when transferring files from my Canan 90D to my iPad, I don’t have a Thunderbolt 4 card reader, or cards that are fast enough to take advantage of the speeds Thunderbolt 4 can provide. The M1 iPad Pro seems to transfer faster, but I put that down more to expanded RAM than the speeds Thunderbolt 4 can achieve.
Most people looking at an iPad Pro don’t even need to think about video or audio render speeds. They aren’t transferring huge video files onto their devices. They’re typing in emails, Pages, social media, or Messages. In which case, the M1 iPad Pro speed and data transfer speeds don’t even factor into the equation.
2018 iPad Pro or M1 iPad Pro
I’m not even sure that I really need the M1 iPad Pro. My 2018 iPad Pro was working just fine rendering 4k video for YouTube regularly. It was doing just fine in the battery life department. In fact, it’s still doing all these things as my wife uses it for email, social media, and document writing. She loves the bigger screen size compared to her iPad 7th generation.
If you’re going to get the 2018 iPad Pro I’d recommend getting the 1TB version because it comes with 6GB of RAM. Most of what you do will never need that extra RAM, but it will help future proof your device.
If you’re looking at the 2020 iPad Pro, they all have 6GB of RAM and an extra GPU core. Get more storage than you think you need because you can’t replace the storage. I think anything over 1TB is overkill for almost everyone. Even when I’m in the middle of multiple big video projects I haven’t been at the 1TB limit of any of my iPad Pro’s.
If you’re really going to render video or audio daily, then yes the M1 iPad Pro is faster. The 1TB and above versions even have 16GB of RAM which means they may future proof your device compared to the lower storage options that have 8GB of RAM. If you are transferring massive files regularly then Thunderbolt 4 is much faster than USB C found on the iPad Pro devices before 2021.
For most people any iPad Pro is plenty of computer. You’ll be happy with the 2018 or 2020 models and can save a bunch by finding one used or can save a little bit by finding one on the Apple Refurbished site.
But if you have the money to purchase an M1 iPad Pro and want it…get it. It’s a great computer but don’t fool yourself into thinking that you’ll get so much more work done faster compared to the older models.