New 12.9-inch iPad Air may not be a large-screen bargain

Posted:
in iPad edited April 18

A new rumor claims that the forthcoming 12.9-inch iPad Air will use the same displays as on the current larger iPad Pro -- which could be good or bad news for buyers expecting a lower-cost large screen.

Apple's current iPad Air 5
Apple's current iPad Air 5



Alongside the repeated and very strong rumor that for the first time there will be a larger iPad Air, has been the presumption that it will be less expensive than the iPad Pro. The iPad Air has always been less costly than the iPad Pro, but it also has to be because otherwise it has little reason to exist.

But now a new report from display analyst Ross Young says that the 12.9-inch iPad Air will use the same display panels as the current 12.9-inch iPad Pro. There are of course other component differences between the models, but the screen is a significant part of the cost.

Neither pricing nor positioning of the new iPad Air is clear. But, given the new screen it's unlikely that the 12.9-inch iPad Air can be priced dramatically lower than the existing iPad Pro.

It is better news that the display will be literally as good as on the current 12.9-inch iPad Pro, but then that has a further impact on cost. Existing users aiming to upgrade to the forthcoming new iPad Pro models will find that their old models are competing against the new iPad Air.

Young does say that the reason for using this display is that there are unused stocks of the screen that were made for the 12.9-inch iPad Pro.

While Apple has not confirmed that the iPad Air will come in a larger size, regulatory filings have shown that four iPad models are coming soon. It's believed that they are the iPad Air and iPad Pro, in 11-inch and 12.9-inch sizes.

Young and his firm Display Supply Chain Consultants, have a good track record when it comes to display-related rumors and supply chain stories, so it is likely that the screen news is accurate.

Rumor Score: Possible

Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 7
    thttht Posts: 5,512member
    Young does say that the reason for using this display is that there are unused stocks of the screen that were made for the 12.9-inch iPad Pro.
    Why would he think this? Apple would just force the miniLED supplier to "take" them back. I thought Apple doesn't have true blue inventory. Component supply is stored at the supplier. If Apple stops buying miniLEDs, they don't have unused stock. The component supplier may, and hence the "take" in quotes.

    Then, if the iPA12.9 is to use miniLED displays, there isn't unused stock. There's just inventory and and Apple needs to ask its supplier for x amount of displays to be built over the next year. IOW, there is going to be a ramp up in supply.

    Ross Young should have intel on the existence of a 12.9" edge lit LCD screen if there is an iPad Air 12.9 model. So, his intel machine is seemingly weak here if he is bereft of real info?
    williamlondonAlex1Nwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 7
    retrogustoretrogusto Posts: 1,118member
    The current iPad Air is kind of awkward in the lineup, given that the $599 base model only has 64gb of storage (which probably isn’t enough for most people, especially at that price), and the next level up only costs $50 less than an iPad Pro 128gb (which is enough for many people). And that $50 gets you a lot of extra stuff. It’ll be interesting to see the base storage for the new models—it’ll make a bigger difference for most people than a screen upgrade, unless the screen also makes the device significantly sleeker and lighter. 
    MplsPwilliamlondondewmeAlex1Nwatto_cobramuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 3 of 7
    brianjobrianjo Posts: 45member
    The current iPad Air is kind of awkward in the lineup, given that the $599 base model only has 64gb of storage (which probably isn’t enough for most people, especially at that price), and the next level up only costs $50 less than an iPad Pro 128gb (which is enough for many people). And that $50 gets you a lot of extra stuff. It’ll be interesting to see the base storage for the new models—it’ll make a bigger difference for most people than a screen upgrade, unless the screen also makes the device significantly sleeker and lighter. 
    Apple's iPad strategy seems to be to offer an iPad at every possible price point.  There's no clear line or jumps to next levels.  Everywhere you turn, just add a couple more dollars and you're at the next level.
    williamlondondewmeAlex1Nwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 7
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 3,957member
    The current iPad Air is kind of awkward in the lineup, given that the $599 base model only has 64gb of storage (which probably isn’t enough for most people, especially at that price), and the next level up only costs $50 less than an iPad Pro 128gb (which is enough for many people). And that $50 gets you a lot of extra stuff. It’ll be interesting to see the base storage for the new models—it’ll make a bigger difference for most people than a screen upgrade, unless the screen also makes the device significantly sleeker and lighter. 
    Agreed. Initially it was a slightly thinner iPad that was an upgrade to the then-current iPad. Since then it’s always been a bit in between. 

    Potentially it could be like the 15” MacBook Air for people who want a larger screen but don’t need the power of the iPad Pro but if they price it close to the iPad Pro there’s no real advantage and it ends up being another orphan device. 
    williamlondonretrogustoAlex1Nwatto_cobramuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 5 of 7
    blastdoorblastdoor Posts: 3,346member
    The current iPad pro has been out for a while.

    Display costs tend to go down over time.

    so….
  • Reply 6 of 7
    chasmchasm Posts: 3,347member
    blastdoor said:
    The current iPad pro has been out for a while.

    Display costs tend to go down over time.

    so….
    Yes, hopefully that means this rumour about the next Air is wrong.

    But the Pros are moving to OLED screens (allegedly, but likely), which will jump the price of those up.

    This could make the iPad Air more attractive, at least to me. As the owner of an OG 11-inch iPad Pro, I might not be giving up anything by "downgrading" to a forthcoming M-class Air ...
    greg.edwards69
  • Reply 7 of 7
    "It is better news that the display will be literally as good as on the current 12.9-inch iPad Pro, but then that has a further impact on cost. Existing users aiming to upgrade to the forthcoming new iPad Pro models will find that their old models are competing against the new iPad Air."

    It may also be that a used or refurb current or previous gen iPad Pro will offer better value and performance than the new iPad Air for a similar price.

    I came up against this when the iPad Air 4 was released and ultimately bought a used 2018 iPad Pro instead for a similar price. Better screen, better speakers, face ID and arguably better performance.
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