7 Reasons Why I Bought Last Year’s iPad Pro 11″ M1 Model and Not the M2 or iPad Air

ipad pro 11-inch m1 back

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I feel like I need to give a little bit of context as to why I made the purchase decision I did to go with the iPad Pro 11” M1 edition and not upgrade to the iPad Pro 11” M2 edition.

As a content creator, I have a never-ending amount of content that needs to be edited, prepared, and published. 

And because I do pretty much everything, including video, photography, photo editing, design, copywriting, and web development, I need a device that is both portable and light that I can take everywhere and ideally something that can do as much of that as possible without too much heavy lifting or sweat.

For a long time, I’ve had my mind set on the iPad 12.9-inch edition with the M1 chip, but as I am now at the point of making a purchase, there’s so much about buying the 12.9”, and the M2 model, that doesn’t make any sense to me anymore.

Apple 2021 11-inch iPad Pro (Wi-Fi, 256GB) - Space Gray
Apple iPad Pro 11″ M1

I expect there are a lot of people out there like me that are trying to make the decision first between what size iPad they need, whether they could go for the iPad Air or new iPad edition, or, and whether they need the M2 chip model, or if the M1 is enough for what they do. 

If you’re in this camp, then follow along with the reasoning for why I chose the iPad Pro 11-inch M1 model and not the iPad Pro 12.9” or the M2 model, which is now available.

In short, because I do some graphics-intensive stuff, I did want something that was going to be powerful.

ipad pro 11-inch m1 model
IPad Pro 11-inch space gray | Make Life Click

My old MacBook Pro is about to die, and so I’m also looking at the MacBook Pro 14-inch, which Apple have just announced they won’t be upgrading for 2022.

This means that it’s still at a pretty good price, and assuming I can pick it up in some deals towards the end of the year, I’m pretty sure that the 14-inch MacBook Pro, even the base model, will be sufficient and an enormous upgrade on my 7-year-old MacBook Pro.

That unit is still powering along faithfully, but I am getting a little frustrated that I can think faster than it can work for me. 

The first question that might be going through your mind is:

1. “Can I replace my laptop with an iPad?”

If you’re thinking about using the iPad Pro as your full-time laptop and workhorse, I would say if you are doing any kind of video, photo, and heavy application multitasking, the answer in my opinion is…no. 

Sorry. But I’ll let you down early on that one. 

The iPad Pro may contain a powerful chip and processor, but the app-switching and app functions mean that if you’re a bit of a power user on your existing MacBook, MacBook Air, or MacBook Pro, switching to an iPad is going to feel like slowing down a little bit.

Again, not because of performance issues, but because of how you interact with apps.

A caveat, if you don’t use hotkeys on your computer and use the mouse to move and click every. single. thing. On the page, then this excludes you. Nothing personal, but you might be OK.

Applications such as Chrome do not perform at the same level with the same functionality that is required by somebody who is pretty serious about how fast they work. 

If you’re a hotkeys guru, which I would like to think I am, then switching to the iPad means everything is going to slow down.

I can jump between tabs, and applications, and apply numerous hotkeys to all sorts of situations on a normal laptop.

ipad pro 11-m1 book reading feature
Books is another thing the iPad does well, even with the glaring screen | Make Life Click

That means I can work incredibly quickly on a laptop.

This means, for me, the iPad is out as my main device. 

Stage Manager is good but not as fast as the quick movement on a tactile keyboard. 

Again, if you are just going to be using it for watching movies, doing some email, want something to travel with, maybe you’re going to be doing some light editing of photos in Lightroom or similar, then, perhaps, this would be sufficient for you, and you may not need the full laptop experience.

It’s not the processor that makes me decide that the iPad Pro is not good enough for use as a full-time and portable unit. 

It’s the speed at which I can work which counts it out from the choices.

With question one out of the way, I’m then left with question two, which is:

2. “Well, do I need the iPad Pro, or could I get away with an iPad Air?”

So, if I’m thinking that I still need a Macbook Pro, could I get away with a cheaper iPad, like the iPad Air?

The iPad Pro versus iPad Air question is rather significant this year as both of these units have very similar power and features that will cater to most people.

With the decision that I still need a decent MacBook Pro for my core work, the need for something overly powerful, or large, is reduced, making it a more affordable decision. 

This means that the iPad for me will be something where I can sit on the couch and do Lightroom edits on my photos as the Lightroom app is quite feature-rich and I can do all the masking and things that I need in there.

And as Lightroom cloud is connected to all my devices, it’s incredibly convenient. 

ipad pro 11 m1 with apple Pencil
Pair wirelessly with Apple Pencil Gen 2 | Make Life Click

I can watch movies, triage emails, and connect with google drive.

I’ll also do some editing of posts on my site, and DaVinci Resolve will be releasing an iPad version soon, which should mean that if I need to, I can do some video editing on the fly.

So looking at the iPad Air stats, it seems to me that this is probably sufficient for what I need. 

The processor screen and the ability to connect with decent speeds via USB-C means that it’s a pretty powerful choice for anything that I need to do on the go.

It also supports the Gen 2 Apple Pencil and the Magic Keyboard. This is why I never entertained the normal iPad, as it can’t support these extensions and the USB-C is limited.

What are the key differences between the 2022 iPad Air M1 and the 2021 iPad Pro M1?

I only want to call out the key differences here. Anything more is redundant.

FeatureiPad Air 2022iPad Pro 11” M1
Screen Size10.9”11”
Screen500 nits600 nits
Pr​​oMotion (120Hz)NopeYes
USB-CUSB-3.1 Gen 2USB-4
Thunderbolt SupportNopeYes
LiDAR CapabilitiesNopeYes
10MP Ultra Wide CameraNopeYes
Stereo RecordingMonoStereo

So after looking at the stats and deciding the iPad Air was the go, I felt confident in my decision, although I still wanted to look across all the prices to see what is the smart choice financially.

Apple 2021 11-inch iPad Pro (Wi-Fi, 256GB) - Space Gray
Apple iPad Pro 11″ M1 – 256GB

3. The price of the iPad Pro 12.9 and iPad Pro 11-inch M2 editions are prohibitively expensive

Going backward for a second. 

Before concluding that the iPad Air would be enough in point #2 (if I also picked up the Macbook Pro 14” 2022 edition) I priced up the 12.9-inch iPad Pro and the 11-inch iPad Pro M2 editions to see what it would cost for me to get a workhorse to take with me everywhere I go.

I’m not a freehand designer, so I don’t really need all of the high-end art capabilities of the iPad Pro, but I definitely wanted everything else that it gave me, and I certainly like to have the latest model of everything when I buy stuff. 

So, I priced it up.

The cost of iPad Pro itself was expensive, but I thought worth the price. Then I started to have thoughts about the pen and the keyboard, which I didn’t actually realize weren’t included in the price.

ipad pro 11 m1 easy to use
Easy to use multi-touch display…for gaming too. | Make Life Click

After adding on the Gen 2 Apple Pencil and the keyboard, the price suddenly exceeded, not only the 14-inch MacBook Pro but almost the 16-inch Macbook Pro as well!


How can a device that only offers additional touch capabilities be more expensive than the powerhouse offering the MacBook Pro 14-inch and 16-inch offer? 

This alone made me choke on my breakfast toast, and I decided that it was abusive to spend that much money on something that I couldn’t really take everywhere.

This led me back to question one and question two of what I needed, and whether would there be a cheaper option that would do what I needed for less. 

So, what’s the difference between last year’s M1 iPad Pro and this year’s iPad Pro M2?

Stuff all actually. I don’t need a pen hover, 6E WiFi, and a killer camera plus, not sure an XDR screen wouldn’t be wasted on me. The Liquid Retina is already enough.

  1. You won’t get the new Pen Hover functionality.
  2. You won’t get WiFi 6E
  3. You won’t get Smart HDR 4
  4. You won’t get ProRes video which is up to 4K 30 fps
  5. You won’t get the Liquid Retina XDR Display
  6. You won’t get the M2 chip speed…but do you need it?

These things won’t change my life or make me want to spend $1000+ more at this point.

iPad Pro 11-inch M1 model sound experience
The four-speaker audio for a better music experience is pretty awesome, or pair headphones | Make Life Click

4. Weight is also a problem

The weight of the iPad Pro is not particularly light. One of the things you want when you are choosing something that you can travel with that is portable and still functional is that you want it to be easy to slip into any kind of day bag without completely affecting the trip, the travel, or any other adventures that you might get up to.

By the time you add up the weight of the iPad Pro, especially the 12.9-inch edition, plus the smart keyboard and the Apple Pencil, you’re pretty much back at the weight of a laptop.

So if I’m going to travel with all of that weight, I’d probably rather take a full laptop. So, the other reason for choosing the 11-inch model is that it is slightly lighter.

The keyboard is also smaller, and, therefore, it is at least closer to a more portable partner than a full laptop. Meaning that it doesn’t negate the need for an iPad.

5. Social conformance and manners

I seem to like to work all the time, one of the reasons I chose the iPad Pro 11-inch is that it’s a little more socially acceptable to pull out an iPad and play with it than a full laptop.

When you pull out a full laptop, everybody says, “I’m feeling ignored.” Whereas, with a tablet, there’s still a relatively open social element to the unit.

ipad pro-11 m1 - portable designlay
Thin and light durable design, and more socially acceptable | Make Life Click

And as I often work on the couch at night, I feel a little less impolite with my wife and kids in the room who would still like to think their father and husband are present when spending evenings together.

With the iPad Pro 11-inch, it’s easy for me to sit on the couch at night, and I find this a really great time to just sit and go through photos in Adobe Lightroom and delete all the photos I don’t like and do edits to the ones I do like.

My workflow from there is that I can package and export those into Google Drive, which automatically creates a trigger to ClickUp to notify Ruby, my web manager, that this image is ready for a post. 

So not only do I feel a little less rude and more polite, but I’m also able to be productive while still appearing social.

6. More work, more output, more productivity.

Another reason the iPad Pro 11 inch is so good for my work is that it is small enough that I can take it everywhere and I can work anywhere.

Even when there’s a bit of downtime waiting for the kids to finish sports at the sports field, or downtime in between appointments, travel, commuting, etc., I’m able to quickly pull out the iPad, edit a few photos, do a little bit of content management, perhaps, jot some ideas down, and that means that every second of the day is optimized, which I am a firm believer in.

7. The final reason why I chose the iPad Pro 11-inch finally came down to price and functionality

I went into the local electronic store to buy or at least look at the iPad Air 10.9-inch edition. 

Also decided that 12.9 was too large if I had really decided that the device I needed was all about portability and having some core functionality while not having to take a laptop on the road.

ipad pro-11 size comparison
iPad pro-11 size comparison to the OneOdio A10 ANC headphones | Make Life Click

Serendipity strikes

While looking at the iPad Air I noticed that the electronics store had the iPad 11-inch M1 edition, 256GB hard drive, which is what I was after but it was showing at a clearance price cheaper than the iPad Air 10.9 edition.

Awesome sauce.

Immediately, the wheels started turning, and I suddenly had that panic feeling that while the iPad Air was a newer model, it may not be as awesome as an older iPad Pro. 

So, jumping into a rapid amount of speed Googling, I concluded that, specs-wise, the iPad Pro 11 M1 edition, at a slightly reduced price to the newer iPad Air 10.9-inch edition, was going to be a winning choice.

While the screen isn’t particularly large, you can get used to it quite quickly. And power, functionality, and screen on the M1 iPad Pro 11” all screamed, “Pick me, pick me, pick me.

So, that’s why I chose last year’s iPad Pro 11” M1 edition.

So, some of these decisions are based around

  1. why I chose an iPad Pro over a laptop
  2. why I chose the size of iPad I did over a laptop
  3. and why I chose the M1 edition over this year’s model

The price of the new model does not equate to the increased functionality in the unit, and the price of the M1 clear-out stock is just too good to be ignored. 

So if you can still pick up a deal, then I think for all the reasons above, the iPad Pro M1 11-inch edition is a great choice.

Not only do you get all of the coolness, but you also get some more money left in your pocket. If you’ve got any questions, please fire them away in the comments below.

Endless hours of experimentation, professional work, and personal investment in Home Theatre, Hi-Fi, Smart Home Automation and Headphones have come to this.

Former owner of Headphones Canada, a high-end headphone specialty retailer.

This post was last updated on 2024-05-25 / Some images from Amazon Product API & some links may be affiliate links which may earn us a commission from purchases.

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