Exclusive: iPad Pro OLED display has a weird HDR highlights bug Apple is trying to squash

iPad Pro with M4 chipset
(Image credit: Gerald Lynch / Future)

The new 11- and 13-inch M4 iPad Pro models set to launch this week have a headline feature: Rich, colorful OLED displays. They're fabulous screens, and a wild feat of engineering — but iMore’s testing found a blemish in the beauty.

We’ve encountered a replicable issue during our time with the 13-inch M4 iPad Pro that causes a strange presentation glitch when watching some HDR content.

In a relatively specific set of circumstances, HDR highlights are blown out on certain blue shades including navy and indigo to a point that they almost appear white on screen. The best way to spot it would be to look at a character wearing a navy blue shirt —  the creases appear to shimmer, like a spider’s web placed over the surface; at other times it appears like an inky blob morphing over it:

  • Best iPad: Which Apple tablet should you buy?

Though it’s present only under very specific circumstances, the issue isn’t visible using the same footage on other displays — from an iPhone 15 Pro to a Samsung TV to an M2 11-inch iPad Pro to a Steam Deck OLED. To see the issue, fire up Netflix and check a Dolby Vision stream of Stranger Things Series 3, Episode 5. Head to the 25 minute mark, a scene of the kids walking down a long tunnel, and check Joe ‘Steve Harrington’ Keery’s shirt.

We don’t yet have an explanation for the weird screen effect, but it seems as if the image processing engine gets confused portraying highlights in that zone. We’re hoping that it’s an isolated issue — it’s difficult to spot across other content. But it isn’t something we’ve seen with Apple’s other displays.

Apple has confirmed to iMore that it is aware of the issue and is working on a software fix to address it.

What’s new in iPad Pro?

Apple’s new OLED display is otherwise a thing of beauty, as we explain in our iPad Pro 2024 review. In both the 11-inch and 13-inch iPad Pro, Apple uses a ‘Tandem OLED’ array (essentially layering two OLED panels on top of each other to push brightness levels higher), resulting in a peak brightness in HDR content of 1600 nits.

This is made possible by the new M4 chip, Apple’s latest homegrown silicon, which debuts in an iPad for the first time, rather than within a Mac computer. It’s all squeezed into the thinnest product Apple has ever made, with the 13-inch iPad Pro measuring just 5.1mm at its slimmest point.

Both models are up for pre-order now, with prices starting at $999. They’ll hit store shelves on May 15, with pre-orders expected to ship out the same day.

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Gerald Lynch
Editor in Chief

Gerald Lynch is the Editor-in-Chief of iMore, keeping careful watch over the site's editorial output and commercial campaigns, ensuring iMore delivers the in-depth, accurate and timely Apple content its readership deservedly expects. You'll never see him without his iPad Pro, and he loves gaming sessions with his buddies via Apple Arcade on his iPhone 15 Pro, but don't expect him to play with you at home unless your Apple TV is hooked up to a 4K HDR screen and a 7.1 surround system. 

Living in London in the UK, Gerald was previously Editor of Gizmodo UK, and Executive Editor of TechRadar, and has covered international trade shows including Apple's WWDC, MWC, CES and IFA. If it has an acronym and an app, he's probably been there, on the front lines reporting on the latest tech innovations. Gerald is also a contributing tech pundit for BBC Radio and has written for various other publications, including T3 magazine, GamesRadar, Space.com, Real Homes, MacFormat, music bible DIY, Tech Digest, TopTenReviews, Mirror.co.uk, Brandish, Kotaku, Shiny Shiny and Lifehacker. Gerald is also the author of 'Get Technology: Upgrade Your Future', published by Aurum Press, and also holds a Guinness world record on Tetris. For real.