Apple responds to suspicions about new iPad Air GPU “shrinkage”

At last month’s “Let’s Fly” conference, Apple officially launched the new iPad Air.

After the new iPad Air was officially released, Apple’s official website stated in all its parameter pages that it is “powered by the Apple M2 chip and has a 10-core graphics processor.”

▲ Screenshot of iPad Air parameter page on May 15th. Image source: Apple official website

However, Apple’s official website has recently undergone a wave of quiet updates.

In the updated introduction page, the number of graphics processor (GPU) cores of the M2 chip equipped with iPad Air has changed, from the originally advertised 10 cores to 9 cores.

▲ The picture on the left is a screenshot taken on May 15, and the picture on the right is a screenshot taken today. Image source: Apple official website iPad Air promotion page

Moreover, in the technical specifications and model comparison pages, the description of the number of GPU cores in the M2 chip has also been changed from 10 cores to 9 cores.

In fact, Apple has not previously launched an M2 chip equipped with a 9-core graphics processor.

Whether on Mac or iPad Pro, the previously launched M2 products are 8-core or 10-core graphics processors.

However, Apple may not have equipped the new iPad Air with the "full blood version" M2 from the beginning.

At the "Let It Fly" conference, Apple's Keynote showed that the graphics performance of the M2 chip equipped with iPad Air has improved by 25% compared with the previous generation.

For comparison, at the launch of the previous generation iPad Pro, its Keynote showed that the graphics performance of the iPad Pro equipped with M2 was 35% higher than that of the previous generation.

The change in this value indicates that Apple should be aware internally that the performance of the new iPad Air has been reduced and is different from the M2 chip equipped in the iPad Pro.

GeekBench benchmark data also shows this. Compared with the previous generation iPad Pro, the GPU performance of the new iPad Air, which is also equipped with the M2 chip, is about 10% lower.

This part of the performance gap is likely related to the lack of a GPU core, so the graphics performance of the new iPad Air will be compromised to a certain extent.

Apple Insider speculates that the M2 chip in the iPad Air model is likely produced on the same production line as the 10-core GPU version M2. For normal chips, Apple can disable one of the GPU cores through software.

Doing so increases processor yield because Apple doesn't have to scrap chips that have only one broken GPU core.

During the development stage of the new iPad Air, Apple may have used the M2 chip with a 10-core GPU. It was not until the final official mass production that it was finally replaced with a 9-core GPU version.

During this period, perhaps due to internal communication problems within Apple, there were errors in the promotion of iPad Air, which have only been revised now.

Just now, Apple responded to this news to Ai Faner. An official Apple spokesperson said:

We are updating to correct the core count for iPad Air (M2). All previous performance descriptions of the iPad Air (M2) are accurate and based on the test results of a 9-core GPU.

Apple said that although it confused 9-core and 10-core when promoting the GPU, "all performance claims are accurate." Apple's claim that the M2 iPad Air is nearly 50% faster than the M1 model still stands:

Coupled with higher-speed memory bandwidth, the new iPad Air is nearly 50% faster than the previous generation model equipped with the M1 chip when handling many productivity and creative tasks. Compared with the iPad Air model equipped with the A14 Bionic chip, the performance of the new iPad Air is improved by up to 3 times.

From an overall performance perspective, the M2 chip is still a strong upgrade. For ordinary users, the performance gap between 10-core and 9-core GPUs may not be obvious in daily use.

But for gamers and professional users, this performance gap is still a pity.

Although the missing core may seem like a minor detail, this promotion will still cause misunderstandings for many users. Apple should promptly notify consumers of this change through a more appropriate method.

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Ai Faner | Original link · View comments · Sina Weibo