Intego Mac Security Podcast

Apple “Let Loose”: iPad Pro gets M4 and OLED – Intego Mac Podcast Episode 343

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We look at what Apple let loose at this week’s Apple event: the M4 chip, updated iPads, and the Apple Pencil Pro.

  • Apple Revamps iPad Line, with M4 Processor, New Magic Keyboard, and Apple Pencil Pro
  • Which iPad Is Best for You in 2024?
  • Everything you can do with the Apple Pencil and Logitech Crayon on your iPad

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    Transcript of Intego Mac Podcast episode 343

    Voice Over 0:00
    This is the Intego Mac Podcast—the voice of Mac security—for Thursday, May 9 2024. This week’s Intego Mac Podcast looks at what Apple let loose at this week’s Apple event: the M4 chip, updated iPads and the Apple Pencil Pro. Now, here are the hosts of the Intego Mac Podcast. Veteran Mac journalist, Kirk McElhearn. And Intego’s Chief Security Analyst, Josh Long.

    Kirk McElhearn 0:33
    Good morning, Josh. How are you today?

    Josh Long 0:35
    I’m doing well. How are you, Kirk?

    What did Apple announce at the “Let Loose” event this week?

    Kirk McElhearn 0:37
    I’m doing just fine. How were you on sleep? Did you get up early yesterday to watch the Apple Event?

    Josh Long 0:41
    Oh, it wasn’t too early 7am. Pacific time, you know, I’m often up by then. So not a big deal.

    Kirk McElhearn 0:48
    I do not get up at seven in the morning by choice, I’ll tell you.

    Josh Long 0:52
    It wouldn’t be my preferred time to start watching a keynote, right? It’s kind of like, oh, okay, well, I don’t really have a lot of time to get ready for the day. I just gotta like, you know, turn on the keynote and start watching it. But you know, it wasn’t too bad. It wasn’t too bad. No 6am I really would not prefer to watch an Apple event at 6am. That would have been really bad.

    Kirk McElhearn 1:13
    It was really short. I believe it clocked in at 37 minutes or so the rumors before said it was about 35 minutes. And it was just a little bit over that, which I like. And we said this the last time they had a short one that was just over a half hour I like when it’s shorter. I don’t like when it goes on for two hours. It’s just too much.

    Josh Long 1:33
    Yeah, not too bad. It wasn’t too long. I didn’t feel like it. I agree with you. If they had gone longer, that would have been too much. There’s only so much that you can say about hey, we have new iPads and a pencil to go along with ’em.

    Kirk McElhearn 1:48
    But they did say a lot, didn’t they? If you remember last week, we’re talking about how Apple had said this would be a different kind of Apple event. And it was pretty different from the beginning, wasn’t it with someone I can’t remember John’s last name, the one who came on after Tim Cook. And he was in a BART car, the Bay Area Rapid Transit, which looked like it was moving with probably a movie set with green screen outside with everyone sitting in the car with iPads. And that was a very interesting way to present the iPad because it was showing a context where users would interact with iPads.

    Josh Long 2:19
    Yeah. And you mentioned to the library, so I only I remember the BART scene because that was really different. Now I don’t know if that’s what they mean by a different kind of Apple events. Like just that, hey, we’re showing it in more public locations. With the library. I think the reason that I didn’t really focus on that too much was I don’t know, maybe just part of me was thinking these might be all things on or close to the Apple campus. Right. And with the BART like that was like very, I know exactly what that is where that is in San Francisco Bay area, right. It’s it’s kind of iconic in the area. So it was clearly off campus from Apple. And that was kind of interesting. Now the other thing that I thought might be what Apple was talking about with a different kind of Apple event was that this one was shot on iPhone, not the first time edited on Mac and iPad, they said this was at the very end and the kind of like closing card of the event. They had this little note on their shot on iPhone edited on Mac and iPad. And so this was I guess, highlighting the fact that there are some new versions of some existing Apple software Final Cut Pro and Logic Pro that are now available on the new iPad Pro.

    Kirk McElhearn 3:36
    Right. So Final Cut Pro is a video editing app and Logic Pro is an audio editing app which we can use for music and which I use to edit podcasts. They have some interesting new features and particularly Final Cut Pro if you’re shooting video on location and you’ve got iPads and you want to edit on the iPad. That’s great that the new iPad Pros are powerful enough to do this. Same with Logic Pro This is really cool feature that you can take audio and use AI to separate it into four parts I believe it was drummer voice piano and the rest of the music so you could pull out the vocals to work on them to process to remix it you can pull out the drums and then remix it in Logic Pro all of this using AI that’s pretty cool.

    Josh Long 4:22
    One of the things that I thought was really fascinating about Final Cut Pro is like you can have multiple iPhones or iPads shooting from different angles or whatever you want to do you know however you want to position your different cameras, but these are other Apple devices that all tie in to your iPad Pro and to the Final Cut Pro app so you can with one tap based on what it looks like in their presentation. You can switch from one camera angle to another live and it looks really cool. It looks like this is something that’s really practical to be able to shoot professional quality video with multiple angle balls on the go.

    Kirk McElhearn 5:00
    Yeah, it looked like a, I don’t know what they call it and TV, a director’s console where the director is choosing among different shots when he’s doing something live. So let’s talk about the new devices, they started with the iPad Air, then they went to the iPad Pro, then they went to the Apple Pencil Pro. So the iPad Air, when it first came out, it was thinner and lighter than the previous iPad Air get it oil like air and Mo Steve Jobs, presenting how light and thin it wasn’t showing it to people with the edge forward. So you can see that it’s really thin. The air is actually not the thinnest and lightest iPad anymore, it’s the iPad Pro, we’ll get to that in a second. The iPad Air is its iteration of the previous iPad Air, which was with an M1 processor, when the new one has an M2. It’s a little bit better, I don’t think it’s a big jump. But what’s new is that they’ve added a 13 inch version to it. So previously, if we go back in iPad Pro history, I think the first one was 10.5 inches, and then they came out with a 12.9 inch, then they came out with an 11 inch. So for a couple years, they’ve had 11 inch and 12.9. Now they’re calling them 11 and 13. And this is the first time that there’s a non pro iPad at 13 inches. 13 inches is big, I don’t know if you’ve ever held an iPad, that’s 13 inches. I mean, you hold a laptop, that’s 13 inches, that’s one thing, it’s got the keyboard, you don’t realize how big the display is if you’re holding it in your hands without the keyboard. So the iPad Air is now competing with the iPad Pro, with a lower priced version with two screen sizes. And a lot of people will want a 13 inch screen but not want to pay the price of the Pro model.

    Josh Long 6:40
    Right? Yeah, that’s an interesting point. At the same time, there are a lot of things that we’ll get to that the Pro has that the air doesn’t. So it really depends on your use case. And kind of if all you really plan to do is, you know, watch video content consume content, you probably don’t really need something beyond an air for that. Like, frankly, I would argue you don’t really need an iPad for that either. But if you really want to stay in the Apple ecosystem, then an air is probably the way to go. If you’re purely just using this as a consumer device, for the most part and pro, like kind of makes sense, right? Like they want the pro device to be the thing that creative professionals are using. And that’s why it’s got a whole bunch of extra features and is extra fancy and all that kind of stuff and of course has a higher price tag.

    Kirk McElhearn 7:32
    It does indeed, in fact is $200 more than the previous iPad Pro, both the 11 inch and 13 inch, they’ve each gone up to $100. The iPad Pro has the new M4 chip, and this is the first time we’re seeing the M4 Max only go up to the M three but there’s the M three, the M three Pro and the M three Max, I don’t think we have an M three Ultra yet, as we had with the M2 and the M one. It’s getting confusing. We’re not going to go into too much detail about this because we spent some time looking at specs and is this better? Is it really faster. It does have more transistors, but particularly the neural engine seems a lot faster than the M2 which was in the previous iPad Pro. And they did mention about the neural engine being used for AI processes.

    Josh Long 8:15
    And we should also mention that the new air has an M2 processor as well. So a lot of Apples presentations comparing the M4 to the M2 are really just because that’s the other big M series chip that’s been in iPads. It’s in the current gen iPad Air and it was in the previous gen iPad Pro.

    Kirk McElhearn 8:36
    Right. So and that’s all confusing. How do you choose do you choose tablet according to the processor? Of course you don’t you choose a tablet because the price definitely the size, the quality of the display. So the iPad Pro has a new display that they’re calling the ultra retina XDR display that is so Apple it just doesn’t have the word magic in it anywhere. They explained how this is an OLED display the first time in an iPad, they explained how they had to put two levels of display together what do they call this? They call this tandem OLED tandem Oh Would that sounds that’s another Apple type thing, right tandem OLED. But this really looks like an impressive display with higher brightness, better contrast and better HDR. There’s also an option to get a nano textured display glass on the one terabyte and two terabyte models of the iPad Pro. There’s an interesting dividing line. So the iPad Pro starts at 256 gigabytes, which is double what it was before it was 128 Before now, some people might say well, this explains why it’s $200 More but that’s just not good enough reason. If you go for one terabyte or two terabyte you get not just the option to have nanotech to display glass but you also get 16 gigabytes of RAM instead of eight. So that’s a big jump. Now I think it comes to 1599 for a one terabyte 11 inch iPad Pro that’s a lot of money, you can get a MacBook Air for that price. But if you want a portable with a good display, the Nano texture display glass option is $100 more, which isn’t a lot. What that does is it makes a sort of, what would you call it a matte finish glass? No, I’ve never found that with an OLED display such as on my iPhone for the past few years. I’ve never worried about reflections because of the way the OLED works in the brightness. But if you are shooting feature films outside in the desert, you might need that.

    Josh Long 10:31
    Another thing that’s worth mentioning about the iPad Pro is that they say that the M4 uses a second gen three nanometer technology. So the other one had three nanometer but this is second gen you guys like this is so much better because it’s second. Okay, thanks Apple. That’s, that’s really helpful information.

    Kirk McElhearn 10:50
    Okay, so we don’t know what the second gen means. But from Apple’s press release, they say M4 also delivers tremendous games and interesting leading performance per watt, compared to M2 M4 can deliver the same performance using just half the power. And compared to the latest PC chip in a thin and light laptop, M4 can deliver the same performance, using just a quarter of a power. And this enabled Apple to make the thinnest iPad ever. In fact, the thinnest product ever thinner even than the iPod Nano, which they showed in the presentation, which has been discontinued for seven years, it was surprising was a nod to people pay attention to Apple, it’s a lot thinner, it’s a lot lighter, basically, since the chip with second generation three nanometer technology uses less power, they put less battery in, so they can make it thinner and lighter.

    Josh Long 11:38
    That’s actually kind of interesting, so much more efficient than the previous generations of the M series chips. One of the other things that they talked about, this is also the first time with the iPad Pro, and I’m fortunate that we’re getting hardware accelerated ray tracing on an iPad so that this is a good thing for video games for like high end, you know, graphics intensive video games. And this is something that was also included with the M three series chips, as well as the ace 17 Pro, which is in the iPhone 15 line. So Apple does also have hardware based ray tracing on that on those particular iPhones as well. So now we’ve got it on high end iPads. So theoretically, we could see more nice, you know, fancy graphics intensive games coming to iPad, although I did also see a headline today that one of the big titles that a lot of people thought was coming to iPad, it turns out apparently is not that was Baldurs Gate three, by the way. So unfortunately, apparently that’s not actually coming to iPad, but hey, maybe we’ll get some other big flagship games coming to iPad soon.

    Kirk McElhearn 12:48
    So one of the other things that we’re not good at talking about chips, because we spent some time trying to figure out what the differences are between the different things like how many transistors and whatever. One of the interesting things is that the neural engine on the M4 has 38 trillion operations per second compared to 18 Trillions on the M2. Now, they did present this as saying that this is useful for machine learning and AI processes. We’ll see what this means in reality. Okay, let’s take a break. When we come back we’ll talk more about the iPad Pro and the iPad Air and the Apple Pencil Pro.

    Voice Over 13:22
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    Kirk McElhearn 14:38
    So in addition to new things, there are some things that disappeared. The iPad ninth generation which was the cheapest model is no longer being sold. They’ve lowered the price on the iPad 10th generation to $349 from 449. So that makes a good entry level iPad for someone who doesn’t need anything fancy. But this means there is no more iPad with a home button, which was in the ninth generation model, there is no more iPad with a headphone jack, which was in the ninth generation model, there is no more iPad with a Lightning connector, which was also in the ninth generation model. All iPads now use USBC.

    Josh Long 15:14
    I think it was kind of surprising, honestly, that Apple was still selling the ninth Gen iPad. I mean, basically, it was supposed to be the low end model for people who were on a really tight budget, right. So that was the only reason the ninth Gen was even still being sold in the first place.

    Kirk McElhearn 15:31
    It was Apple’s Fire tablet.

    Josh Long 15:33
    They’re kind of, yeah. It was they were trying to compete if on the low end by just selling an old product, basically. And that’s still what they’re doing now with the 10th Gen, instead of the ninth Gen. Technically, the Lightning port does still exist on some Apple devices, Apple is still selling a third generation iPhone SE, as well as some airPods that still have a Lightning port on the case. So this is something that eventually will get completely phased out. But at least one more device no longer has Lightning, we’re moving to USBC across the board.

    Kirk McElhearn 16:07
    The iPhone 13 also has Lightning and that will be deleted when we come up with the iPhone 16, because that’s the three models older that they’re selling. Now, the 1514 13. The airPods Max has Lightning as well, that hasn’t been updated in several years. But we’re on the way to USBC everywhere. One other thing to point out is now every iPad has the same form factor with the flat edges with the rounded screen. Because the iPad mini is still available, they didn’t trump the price, it’s still 499. But it has the same form factor as all the other iPads. And so now when you look at the iPad wine, visually, there’s not that much of a difference between the iPad Pro and the iPad Air. The 10th generation iPad is 10.9 inches compared to 11 inches for the iPad Pro and the iPad Air at least the smaller versions, and the iPad mini is 8.3 inches. So they all look alike now. And that is a sort of, I want to say it kind of rationalizes the iPad wine a lot more. Because when you’re looking at different devices that look different, you try to figure out why they’re different. And in fact, the home button on the ninth generation makes it look like it’s really old. So that’s gone.

    Josh Long 17:16
    As you mentioned, they brought out the old iPod Nano just to show it side by side. The iPod Nano was previously apparently Apple’s thinnest product with a display that Apple has ever released. I assume they mean with a display because while there, you know, there’s the Apple polishing cloth, right? I mean, technically, that’s an Apple product. But anyway, so like they showed them side by side. So you could see that the new iPad Pro is 5.1 millimeters, which is incredibly thin. And of course, immediately people were blowing up social media saying, Oh, that thing’s gonna get crushed. Apple says no, no, not. So this is also incredibly strong. And there’s no way that this thing will bend. So don’t even worry about that. Well, I can’t wait to see it get into some reviewers hands.

    Kirk McElhearn 18:00
    Are we going to have bendgate again, with someone sticks an, in their back pocket and sits down?

    Josh Long 18:06
    I guarantee there will be people crushing these things with their hands just to show it’s possible. But the I mean, at the same time, it’s it’s going to be rigid enough and strong enough that it’s not going to be easily bendable. I don’t think I don’t think that’s something that we need to worry about.

    Kirk McElhearn 18:22
    I believe it has some carbon fiber layers in it to add rigidity or something. It’s true that the iPad I have an iPad Pro that’s two generations old. It’s quite heavy for what it is. It’s true that oh lighter iPad Pro would be nice. But you know what I’d like to be thinner and wider my iPhone, I would like to see an iPhone as thin as an iPad or an iPad Pro. I don’t think we really need iPhones that are as thick and heavy as they are. But then they’ll bend if you put them in your back pocket.

    Josh Long 18:52
    You know, why don’t we have an iPhone that you can see all the way through just like on all those sci fi shows, you know, like, I want a device that I can just hold and I can see my hand through it when I’m you know, poking on the screen with a stylus because for some reason in the future, they use styli, styluses with their iPhones or whatever

    Kirk McElhearn 19:10
    “Styli” is correct? Yeah. Okay. All right. Well, well, that my friend is the Apple Vision Pro, where it’s just a screen in the air that you can see through.

    Josh Long 19:19
    You just blew my mind. Oh my gosh, wow. Apple Vision Pro is incredibly revolutionary. It’s all in your head. But you know, at least now it’s exactly the device and kind of in your hand that you can see through now.

    Kirk McElhearn 19:30
    Okay, so let’s talk about the Apple Pencil Pro because this is a big change. Now, I had been speculating for weeks that one of the reasons Apple had not updated iPads was to somehow harmonize the iPad wine. I might not be entirely wrong because the new Apple Pencil Pro only works with these two models that were announced this week, the iPad Air M2 and the iPad Pro M4 and they add a bunch of interesting features. There’s something called barrel roll if you turn if you rotate the barrel of the pen With changes the orientation of the pen and brush tools, there’s a squeeze gesture you can make to switch tools. There’s haptic feedback in the pencil. And that’s a really good idea. Because if you’re doing something, having that feedback, what you know it’s been done right, if that makes sense. And you can also use it in find my so when that Apple Pencil drops between the cushions of your couch, you can use Find my to find it again.

    Josh Long 20:26
    That’s actually not too bad of a feature. Like I think that kind of makes sense for an Apple pencil to have something like that. Right? This is definitely a device that could easily get lost. You know, I’m sure there are a lot of people who have lost their tags. I’ve heard of people losing their Apple TV remotes and between couch cushions, right. So if you’re sitting on the couch using your Apple Pencil, well, it’s entirely possible could get lost. So the new Pencil Pro, I think that’s a good feature to have for sure.

    Kirk McElhearn 20:54
    Now, there are currently four Apple pencils, and they are called Apple Pencil, first generation Apple Pencil, second generation Apple Pencil USBC and Apple Pencil Pro and Josh is shaking his head, we’re going to link to an article on the Intego Mac security blog talking about the Apple Pencil. There are reasons for this, right, the original Apple Pencil charges in pairs with a whitening connector, right. So you can no longer use that with new devices. The second generation Apple Pencil charges and pairs by a magnetic connection to the side of an iPad. The third one that came out is USBC. It’s cheaper, it’s $79 Compared to 129. For the new 199. For the first, it’s cheaper for education, but it pairs by sticking it into USB C port and the Apple Pencil Pro pairs and charges by connecting it magnetically to the iPad. So there is some cross compatibility with these devices, but you need to be able to pair them. So you could not use the first Apple pencil with the new iPad, because it’s got a Lightning connector and you can’t pair it, you can use the USBC Apple pencil with a new iPad, because you can pair it with a USBC. I’m pretty sure you can use the second generation as well, since it pairs magnetically. But obviously there’s all these new features. Now I hope that going forward, Apple decides to get rid of the old ones as soon as they’re not selling anymore. And as soon as there aren’t people who still have these old device. See the thing is, if they’ve sold the original Apple Pencil EVOC to education to schools that have iPads with Lightning connectors, well, they need to be able to have that and they can’t discontinue it if they want to support this for education.

    Josh Long 22:36
    Right, right. That’s a good point. And although they’re no longer selling an iPad, with a Lightning port, they do still have a lot of existing customers that have an iPad with a Lightning port that they’ve purchased in the past several years. And remember, like, actually, I don’t know if everybody knows this. I think I’ve mentioned this a long time ago on the podcast that in the education market in particular, they tend to hang on to devices for a very long time, like as long as possible almost until they die. And and even in many cases, after they can no longer get iPad OS or other operating system updates, potentially a little bit problematic from a security perspective. But you know, they like to hang on to devices, because when they get a whole bunch of new devices, they instead of replacing they typically add on some additional devices. So they’ll have a new iPad cart. And it doesn’t necessarily replace the old one. Now you have more classrooms that have an iPad cart, right? So especially in the education market, they’re probably still going to be selling the first generation Apple pencil for at least a couple of years, right? I think Apple is going to keep it around for for quite a while just to make sure that they’re taking care of existing customers who might need to buy a new one. However, I do feel like this makes things so unnecessarily complicated, right? Like the fact that you have to have a chart to figure out what pencil you need for what iPad is kind of insane to me, like I get it. I understand the compatibility and I understand all that you’re talking about here, but it feels very Anapa like the fact that you can’t just go oh, I need an Apple pencil. And okay, yeah, I’m just gonna get the latest one. Well, maybe you can’t use the latest one. If you have an older model iPad.

    Kirk McElhearn 24:31
    Well, the thing is, you can’t because you can’t pair it if you have a Lightning connector iPad. I don’t know if you can use the new one on the last couple generations of iPad Pro which pair magnetically you probably can but you wouldn’t get all the new features because they’re probably in the new iPad not just in iPad OS. It’s interesting. The we were talking before we started recording about the Apple Pencil when you see no use for it. And I and our producer Doug we were explaining to you how wonderful it is to you Use an Apple pencil to edit text on an iPad because it’s so hard when you have fat fingers to select things. And you can tap the pencil and move the cursor, and double and triple tap it. So the Apple Pencil is not just for people who do art. It’s also for interacting with text.

    Josh Long 25:15
    Just to clarify, I have no personal use for an Apple pencil or stylus or something like that. I do realize that yes, there are there are especially for artists, I feel like that’s the biggest use case for an Apple Pencil. Or people who like to, you know, take notes with a physical you know, device write it as opposed to typing on a screen. For some people, it takes them much longer to type on a screen than it does to scribble some notes. And so it would probably make sense for a lot of people to be able to handwrite notes. And so from that perspective, I totally get that there’s lots of purposes for that pencil. It’s just my particular use cases. The one thing that I wish were better that I have a little bit of difficulty with, and I don’t really use an iPad, I use my iPhone. But when I’m trying to have that precision, put the cursor in an exact spot, I find that that is a little bit annoying, especially when I’m trying to pay something for example, like after a quotation mark, and in between the quotation mark and the first letter, if I’m trying to add a sentence in there, it’s super annoying, because I’ve got to use my finger and put it in the right spot. And then I’ve got to do it again before I get the menu to pop up so I can paste it. If I could use a pencil or some some kind of stylus, right, but like an Apple pencil to just do that in one gesture, like to tap in the right spot and immediately get a menu which maybe I could do something like that with the new Apple Pencil Pro with its haptic feedback. I don’t know for sure whether it’s going to be able to do that. But if I could do that and use it with an iPhone, I think that would be kind of cool. I’m not saying I would necessarily use an Apple Pencil. But I like the idea of it.

    Kirk McElhearn 27:03
    Y know what’s quicker than typing or handwriting? Dictation. And that gets you around the whole problem. And yes, you do have to correct sometimes it’s not perfect, but once you get used to it, you’ll find it gets about 98% Correct. So no typing, no handwriting just dictate you’ll save a lot of time.

    Josh Long 27:20
    And I do use voice dictation a lot on my iPhone.

    Kirk McElhearn 27:24
    Okay, that’s enough for this week. Until next week, just stay secure.

    Josh Long 27:27
    All right, stay secure.

    Voice Over 27:30
    Thanks for listening to the Intego Mac podcast, the voice of Mac security with your host, Kirk McElhearn and Josh Long. To get every weekly episode, be sure to follow us on Apple Podcasts, or subscribe in your favorite podcast app. And, if you can, leave a rating, a like or review. Links to topics and information mentioned in the podcast can be found in the show notes for the episode at The Intego website is also where to find details on the full line of Intego security and utility software.

    About Kirk McElhearn

    Kirk McElhearn writes about Apple products and more on his blog Kirkville. He is co-host of the Intego Mac Podcast, as well as several other podcasts, and is a regular contributor to The Mac Security Blog, TidBITS, and several other websites and publications. Kirk has written more than two dozen books, including Take Control books about Apple's media apps, Scrivener, and LaunchBar. Follow him on Twitter at @mcelhearn. View all posts by Kirk McElhearn →