The M4 iPad Pro has a new OLED display with a variable refresh rate, but no always-on display

Apple's fancy new M4 iPad Pro comes with a display that sports a variable refresh rate, but it doesn't go low enough for an always-on display.

1 minute & 39 seconds read time

Apple announced the brand-new M4 iPad Pro yesterday and it brings with it some big upgrades, not least that superfast M4 chip that everyone's talking about. But the thing that most people will notice first is likely to be the new OLED display and it's something that Apple focused on heavily, too. But there's one feature that we would have liked to have seen arrive that was sadly missing - an always-on display like the iPhone 15 Pro.

An always-on display was never seriously rumored for the arrival of the new iPad Pro but the news that it would be using an OLED display similar to the iPhone had given some hope that Apple might spring a surprise. Now, Apple has published technical specifications for the new iPads and has confirmed that the new OLED display features a variable refresh rate that can go as high as 120Hz and fall to just 10Hz. And as impressive that is, and as much battery life it could help the iPad save, it doesn't go as low as the iPhone 15 Pro display's 1Hz. And it's that 1Hz refresh rate that is needed to offer an always-on display.

The M4 iPad Pro has a new OLED display with a variable refresh rate, but no always-on display 02

The iPad Pro has offered a 10Hz refresh rate since 2017 with the tablet fluctuating between 24Hz and 120Hz depending on what the device is being used for at the time. The high refresh rate is useful for high-speed on-screen content and fluid animations, but refreshing the display that many times per second can impact the battery life terribly. Moving to a 10Hz lower refresh rate will help Apple save battery life to be sure, but 1Hz would have been even better.

That's one of the few disappointments with this new iPad Pro, though. It comes with that M4 chip and a new design that makes it the thinnest device Apple has ever sold, too. It's an expensive beast as you might expect, but the refreshed M2 iPad Air with a new 13-inch display option should give buyers a way to get that big-screen experience without going for the Pro model.

Those who do want to pick up a new M4 iPad Pro can do just that by placing your order right now, with the tablet set to officially go on sale on Wednesday, May 15. That's also when the new Apple Pencil Pro and a refreshed Apple Magic Keyboard will go on sale, giving you plenty of ways to spend your hard-earned cash.

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Based in the UK, Oliver has been writing about technology, entertainment, and games for more than a decade. If there's something with a battery or a plug, he's interested. After spending too much money building gaming PCs, Oliver switched to Apple and the Mac - and now spends too much on those instead.

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