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As expected, early benchmarks show the iPad Air 5 scores identically to the 11-inch iPad Pro thanks to both devices using the M1 processor.
Reviewers are running the iPad Air 5 through Geekbench, and the scores don't show anything surprising. In fact, the numbers only differ by what can be attributed to rounding errors and per-run changes.
The iPad Air 5 is listed as "iPad13,17" in Geekbench, and it shows a 1711 single-core score and 7233 multi-core score in one CPU test. Which is similar to the 11-inch iPad Pro with a 1718 single-core score and 7313 multi-core score.
The Metal score, which determines GPU performance, shows 21,539 for one of the iPad Air 5 tests. The 11-inch iPad Pro shows a 21,498.
Geekbench gets these scores by running a series of benchmark tests in an iOS app. The scores can be affected by battery charge level, external temperature, and other factors. Which explains the different numbers across tests and devices running the same chipset.
The M1 processor was first introduced for use in the Mac, but was later added to the iPad Pro lineup instead of Apple's usual "X" series chips. Apple including the M1 in the iPad Air is somewhat perplexing since it places this mid-range tablet's performance in line with the "pro" tablet lineup.
The processor isn't the whole story, however, since there are still several exclusive features for the iPad Pro that keep the product differentiated. They can have up to 2TB of storage, 16GB of RAM, and use ProMotion displays. The iPad Air is limited to 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage and a max refresh rate of 60Hz.
The iPad Air 5 ships on Friday, March 18 in five colors starting at $599 for 64GB. It has a faster USB-C port, 5G, and the M1 processor.