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iPad Air (2022) vs iPad Professional (2022): How to decide on


iPad Air (2022)

Jason Cipriani/ZDNet

Apple’s iPad lineup is extra cluttered and complicated than ever after the discharge of the 10th-generation iPad that appears precisely just like the fifth-generation iPad Air, however makes use of some older {hardware} to make it extra reasonably priced. As for the most recent iPad Air, properly, it is an excellent pill. So good, actually, it gave me a touch of purchaser’s regret for paying $2,000 for my 2021 iPad Professional. Extra not too long ago, Apple upgraded the iPad Professional, together with a barely quicker M2 processor and a elaborate new Apple Pencil function. With the iPad Air and iPad Professional sharing plenty of the identical DNA, it is solely pure to query which one is best for you. 

Additionally: Black Friday iPad offers: The iPad Professional and iPad Mini are already on sale

Even with the latest refresh to the iPad Professional, there are plenty of similarities between the 2 tablets. Each of them: 

  • Run iPadOS 16 with full Stage Manger and exterior monitor help (in iPadOS 16.2)
  • Have USB-C ports for charging and transferring information
  • Have the same show measurement because the smaller iPad Professional
  • Include the FaceTime digicam’s Middle Stage function. 
  • Work with Apple’s 2nd Technology Apple Pencil

With so many options in frequent, there must be variations to justify the worth distinction between the $599 iPad Air, $799 11-inch iPad Professional and the $1,099 12.9-inch iPad Professional, proper? Proper! Let’s take a more in-depth look. 

iPad Professional VS. iPad Air

Specs iPad Professional iPad Air
Processor Apple M2 Apple M1
Show 11-inch/12.9-inch 10.9-inch
Reminiscence As much as 16GB 8GB
Storage As much as 2TB As much as 256GB
Entrance Digicam True Depth 12MP Extremely Large 12MP Extremely Large
Rear Cameras 12MP Large, 10MP Extremely Large 12MP Large
Battery 10 hours 10 hours
Biometrics Face ID Contact ID
Connectivity Thunderbolt 4, 5G, Wi-Fi USB-C, 5G, Wi-Fi
Colours House grey, silver House grey, starlight, pink, purple, blue
Beginning value $799/$1,099 $599


The iPad Air solely has two storage choices. The bottom mannequin is 64GB, with an improve possibility of 256GB. I believe most customers will discover that 64GB simply is not sufficient house to retailer apps, video games, movies and pictures in 2022 when all of these issues are solely rising in measurement. 

Evaluation: iPad 2022 (10th Gen): A confusingly good iPad

Each iPad Professional fashions can be found in the identical storage allotments. You possibly can choose between storage quantities of 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB and 2TB. 

The quantity of storage you want is predicated on how you employ or plan to make use of your iPad. However with the iPad Air, you are virtually pressured into shopping for the 256GB possibility for $749, which may be very near the $799 beginning value of the 11-inch iPad Professional. 


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The quantity of reminiscence in an iPad determines when apps are put to sleep within the background, or how typically it’s a must to refresh a Safari tab after it hasn’t been used for an prolonged period of time. 

Moreover, with the introduction of Stage Supervisor and a multi-window multitasking expertise in iPadOS 16, reminiscence is much more necessary. Add in the truth that each iPad fashions will even function improved — and true — exterior monitor help as soon as iPadOS 16.2 launches (possible in December), permitting you to make use of as much as eight apps on the similar time, and the significance of extra reminiscence will get even clearer. 

Apple not often talks in regards to the quantity of reminiscence in its iPad line, with the lone exception being the 2021 and 2022 iPad Professional. You possibly can choose between an iPad Professional with 8GB or 16GB of reminiscence, however that call can be based mostly on the quantity of storage you purchase. If you’d like 8GB of reminiscence, persist with storage beneath 512GB. Something over that mark will include 16GB of reminiscence. 

Evaluation: iPad Professional (2022) overview: Cease me in case you’ve heard this one earlier than, however…

As for the iPad Air, you are caught with a single possibility: 8GB of reminiscence. 

Personally, I’ve seen a noticeable distinction between my iPad Professional with 16GB of reminiscence and different iPads with much less reminiscence. For me, the foremost takeaway is that apps keep operating within the background longer. Nonetheless, I might wager 8GB is often greater than sufficient for many customers. 

To be clear, I have not used an 8GB iPad Air (or iPad Professional) since iPadOS 16 and Stage Supervisor was launched. There have been different under-the-hood efficiency enhancements that Apple made to reminiscence utilization within the replace that will have positively impacted the expertise. Moreover, Apple has been very purposeful about which iPads are getting Stage Supervisor options, and which are not. The iPad Air has at all times been on the listing of iPad fashions getting Stage Supervisor and exterior monitor help, so the workforce needs to be assured within the total expertise, even at 8GB. 

iPad Pro (2021)

iPad Professional (2021)

Jason Cipriani/ZDNet


The show expertise variations between the Air and the Professional are vital, however provided that you care about having a extremely good show or a extremely, actually good show. In different phrases — you possible will not discover a lot of a distinction between the 2. 

The iPad Professional line has a quicker refresh charge of as much as 120Hz (known as ProMotion), a better max brightness degree, and the bigger iPad Professional makes use of mini-LED expertise for a greater image, which Apple calls a Liquid Retina XDR show. 

The smaller iPad Professional has an 11-inch Liquid Retina Show that is decision is 2388×1668, with True Tone, ProMotion, and a max brightness of 600 nits.  

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The bigger iPad Professional has a 12.9-inch mini-LED show with 2,596 full-array native dimming zones, a 2732×2048 decision, ProMotion, True Tone, SDR max brightness of 600 nits, XDR brightness of 1,000 nits max for full display screen, or 1,600 nits peak for HDR content material. 

The iPad Air’s Liquid Retina show measures 10.9-inches and is an LED panel. It has a decision of 2360×1640, with True Tone help and 500nits of whole brightness. 

The USB-C port

If you already know something about USB-C ports, you already know the overall rule is that not all USB-C ports are created equal. There are far too many alternative requirements for the one connection that I’ve a tough time maintaining with all of it — and it is my job to just do that. 

For the iPad Air, Apple added USB 3.1 Gen 2 to the USB-C port. Which means you may see speeds of as much as 10Gbps when transferring information, or you’ll be able to join the iPad Air to an exterior monitor with help for decision of as much as 6K. 

Additionally: Utilizing the improper USB-C cable can injury your tech. The right way to keep away from that

The iPad Professional providing has a USB-C port, as properly, however with help for Thunderbolt and USB 4. Which means you stand up to 40Gbps throughout file transfers (due to USB 4), and help for a similar 6K decision when linked to an exterior monitor. 

For those who do plenty of file transfers between your iPad Professional and exterior storage or a digicam, then you definitely’ll profit from the newer USB connection expertise. However, to be sincere, the iPad Air’s pace is not a dealbreaker. 


iPad Professional (2021)

Jason Cipriani/ZDNet

5G connectivity

One other space the place the iPad Air lineup differs from the iPad Professional is with regards to the kind of 5G connectivity it helps. Each iPad Professional tablets help 5G’s Sub6 and mmWave expertise, whereas the iPad Air solely helps Sub6. 

For the typical individual, the shortage of mmWave on the iPad Air is a non-issue. 

Evaluation: Apple iPad Professional (2021): Impressively highly effective, however the {hardware} is just a part of the story 

Sub6 5G networks are just a bit quicker than present LTE networks, with decrease latency and extra bandwidth for extra customers, whereas mmWave 5G expertise offers you the community speeds you see touted in commercials of as much as 2Gbps. Nonetheless, these speeds are solely achieved in very particular situations. 

Do not base your iPad shopping for determination on which taste of 5G the iPad helps. 


iPad Air (2022)

Jason Cipriani/ZDNet

Lastly, the worth

The value is without doubt one of the largest differentiators between the three fashions. The iPad Air is priced between the bottom iPad and the iPad Professional, so it could make of sense for it to be the iPad of selection for individuals who desire a pill for extra than simply watching Netflix and searching the net. 

Additionally: Anker’s 551 USB-C Hub is sort of the proper iPad Professional accent

This is the pricing breakdown for the iPad Air and each sizes of the iPad Professional. Remember, nevertheless, that every one three iPads work with the $129 second-generation Apple Pencil, and have keyboard choices that vary in value from $299 for the iPad Air and 11-inch iPad Professional, to $329 for the bigger iPad Professional. These equipment increase the general value of your funding in Apple’s pill, do you have to want them.

Worth comparability

iPad Air 11-inch iPad Professional 12.9-inch iPad Professional
Wi-Fi Solely
64GB $599 N/A N/A
128GB N/A $799 $1,099
256GB $749 $899 $1,199
512GB N/A $1,099 $1,399
1TB N/A $1,499 $1,799
2TB N/A $1,899 $2,199
64GB $749 N/A N/A
128GB N/A $999 $1,299
256GB $899 $1,099 $1,399
512GB N/A $1,299 $1,599
1TB N/A $1,699 $1,999
2TB N/A $2,099 $2,399

For those who max out an iPad Air with the entire equipment, the overall price comes near the bottom mannequin 11-inch iPad Professional, sans any equipment. 

So, then you definitely’re left asking your self whether or not you need an iPad with a greater show and a quicker USB-C connection, with extra base storage. For me, although the iPad Air does every part I want from Apple’s pill, I do not remorse shopping for my iPad Professional. A 12 months later, it is nonetheless the very best iPad I’ve ever owned.

Additionally: The right way to use an iPad Professional to energy your private home workplace 

However for almost all of individuals, the show and USB-C variations are one thing that will not make or break the expertise, and thus, the iPad Air is the very best choose. 

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