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Apple downgraded the iPad Air M2 and didn't tell buyers (Update: Apple statement)

UPDATE: Apple affirms mix-up with GPU specs table, but doesn't explain why it happened.

Published onJune 4, 2024

iPad Air 5th gen in use as a tablet 1
Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority
  • Apple initially stated that the latest iPad Air M2 features a 10-core GPU, but that turned out to be false.
  • The company quietly updated its website to reflect that 2024’s iPad Air actually packs a 9-core GPU.
  • It does not appear that there will be a 10-core GPU model, with all performance claims based on the 9-core setup.

Update, June 4, 2024 (12:01 PM ET): After quietly changing specs tables for the iPad Air M2 yesterday, Apple has now given a statement to 9to5Mac on the controversial matter.

We are updating to correct the core count for the M2 iPad Air. All performance claims for the M2 iPad Air are accurate and based on a 9-core GPU. When combined with faster memory bandwidth, the new iPad Air is nearly 50 percent faster than the previous iPad Air with M1 for a wide range of productivity and creative tasks. And compared to iPad Air with A14 Bionic, the new iPad Air delivers up to 3x faster performance.

Unfortunately, Apple does not explain why this mix-up happened in the first place.

The original article published yesterday appears unedited below.

Original article, June 3, 2024 (10:54 AM ET): Last month, Apple refreshed some of its tablets by introducing the iPad Pro M4 and iPad Air M2. Initially, the Cupertino firm stated that the latter model features a 10-core GPU. Weeks later, Apple quietly updated its website to reflect that the iPad Air M2’s GPU actually packs nine cores only. Since the iPad Air M2 debuted over 15 days ago, launch-day customers are now stuck with downgraded models.

Apple has quietly updated the iPad Air M2’s tech specs page and dropped the GPU’s cores by one (via 9to5Mac). At the time of writing, the original press release and other support documents still reference the 10-core GPU, which, for unknown reasons, slipped through.

A week ago, a Redditor ran benchmark tests and noticed that the iPad Air M2’s GPU is 10% slower than that of the iPad Pro M2. This confirms that this year’s iPad Air indeed packs an inferior chip. Given that Apple originally designed M2 chips with 8-core and 10-core GPUs, it’s possible that the iPad Air features a binned-down version of the 10-core variant.

Apple offers its customers a 15-day, no-questions-asked return window. Since the iPad Air debuted on May 15, those who bought it on launch day can no longer return it to the Apple Store. It’s yet to be seen whether Apple will exceptionally offer an extended return window for this model, as it falsely advertised a 10-core GPU when the early customers bought it.

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