There’s no need for M1 iPad Pro. The iPad Air has the A14 from the iPhone 12 series. That should be suffice for your gaming needs.
The A14 is about the same level as the A12Z in the last iPad Pro so it’s not a slow chip by any means. The iPad G8 is of course slower, because it’s using an A12 Bionic from 2018.
So while it can run most of games like PUBG/CoDM (Source : played these on iPad mini 5 which has A12), it could struggle with newer titles like genshin Impact, or some Apple Arcade games like The Last Campfire, Samurai Jack, The Pathless (all are console ports) etc
(Source : Played on iPhone 12, it got quite warm while doing so)
So while an M1 sure is more powerful than an A14, I don’t see the point in buying an iPad Pro for that. Now with M1 Macs, you can simply run iOS apps as well as Mac apps. While an iPad Pro despite having M1 will only run iPad apps.
So there’s no point in getting the iPad pro. For a little more, you get full desktop experience and a much more flexible app selection (MacOS + iOS + VM windows if you will)
Further as far as your 3y vs 9y comparison goes, here’s what you need to know
- Both will get 5y of updates regardless of SoC. So it’s a redundant comparison.
- Comparing price to longevity doesn’t work because not only do you get M1, but you also get hoard of other things in that 3x price :
- Thin bezel design
- 120Hz adaptive refresh
- MiniLED backlighting with OLED level brightness and contrasts
- much bigger battery
- much bigger screen
- much better cameras and speakers
- You’re also paying for these extra hardware components over the iPad G8 for the 3x pricing.
- It’s unreasonable to expect 9y out of iPad Pro, although you can stretch it to that if you want.
- The M1 chip would hold up, but not necessarily the other parts like battery. That’s the primary problem in long term ownership.
- M1 is plenty powerful to run mobile grade apps for a long time to come. For reference it scored 1.2M points on antutu while the other top devices presently score in 750K range.