Apple's new 13-inch M2 iPad Air has a brighter display than its smaller 11-inch sibling

Apple's new 13-inch iPad Air has a significantly brighter display than the 11-inch version of the same tablet, but nobody knows why.

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When Apple announced the new 6th-generation iPad Air earlier this week it updated the existing 11-inch model and then added a whole new 13-inch model for good measure. We expected that beyond the new display size the two iPads would be identical, but as it turns out, that isn't the case at all. In fact, that 13-inch display isn't just bigger, it's also 20% brighter than the display used in the 11-inch iPad Air.

The news was first spotted by YouTuber Saran of the SaranByte channel and then picked up by MacRumors. The information itself comes from Apple's tech specs for the two devices, and it's confirmed that the 13-inch display is indeed brighter than the 11-inch one.

The figures themselves confirm that the peak SDR brightness for the 11-inch iPad Air is 500 nits whereas the peak SDR brightness for the 13-inch model is 600 nits. The change isn't a huge one, but it's notable and an interesting statistic given the fact that we don't know what. Our guess would be that the two displays are produced by two different manufacturers - likely LG Display and Samsung Display - and that's where the different capabilities come from.

As for the iPad Pro, the figures show that the new OLED display makes quite the difference when compared to the outgoing M2 version The M2 iPad Pro topped out at 600 nits for SDR content with both the 11-inch and 12.9-inch versions sporting the same specs. For the M4 iPad Pro, that increases to a whopping 1,000 nits again for both the 11-inch and 13-inch display sizes.

Apple announced all four new tablets at an event earlier this week and they will go on sale on May 15. Preorders are now live, however, and people who already have their order in won't have to wait too much longer to get their hands on their new tablets.

The new iPad Air has plenty to shout about including that faster M2 chip compared to the previous generation's M1. The tablet also includes Apple Pencil Pro support while Wi-Fi 6E connectivity is also on the spec list. Apple also chose to move the FaceTime camera from the top of the tablet to the side, putting it in a much more natural position for those times when people are placing video calls with the tablet in iPad Air mode. Apple sells the Magic Keyboard accessory to facilitate that of course, although there are third-party options as well.

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NEWS SOURCES:macrumors.com, apple.com

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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