New iPad Air & iPad Pro models are coming soon - what to expect

Posted:
in iPad edited May 6

Apple is holding a special event on May 7 that will most likely focus on new models of the iPad Air and iPad Pro. Here's what to expect from the "Let Loose" event.

iPads are expected at Apple's next event
iPads are expected at Apple's next event



Apple has not made a meaningful update to the iPad lineup since October 2022, with the exception of an Apple Pencil update in November 2023. That's a very long time for an entire product category to go without updates, especially for the iPad lineup.

On April 23, Apple revealed it will be holding a special event on May 7, which the company subtitled as "Let loose." It also directly hinted as to what the event will be about, with a series of stylized Apple logos incorporating a hand using an Apple Pencil.

Apple is not known to be this direct in its event alert graphics. It usually offers far more subtle clues that gives a minimal hint about an event's topics.

With Apple's clue in mind, this is what you could expect to see during the event based on months of rumors.

New iPad Pro



The biggest change expected for the iPad Pro lineup is the switch over to OLED displays. The change offers a variety of benefits, including the lack of a backlight providing true blacks, more vivid colors, and power savings versus LCD equivalents.

A collection of iPad Pros
A collection of iPad Pros



At the same time, there were originally expectations of a shift over to the M3 chip, following a progression from previous models. The 3-nanometer chip will provide more performance and efficiency over the M2 and M1.

And as of late, there have been rumors about the device getting the as-yet unannounced M4 chip. Should these be true, it would be the shortest cycle between generations of Apple Silicon M-series chips yet.

There have also been claims that Apple could offer a matte option for the display, providing an anti-glare coating to the tablet line for the first time.

However, there have also been murmurs that the new models could get a price increase to match the upgrades, potentially starting the lineup at around $1,500.

New iPad Air



In November, the iPad Air was rumored to arrive in two sizes, with a 10.9-inch model accompanied by a 12.9-inch version, mirroring the iPad Pro lineup.

iPad Air 5
iPad Air 5



However, rather than getting the update to OLED like the iPad Pro, it was believed that the displays would instead have the current LED-based backlighting.

A more recent April rumor offers that there may well still be a display technology upgrade. One rumor said the 12.9-inch iPad Air could use the same display panels as the existing mini-LED backlighting of the current-gen 12.9-inch iPad Pro.

However, an April 24 rumor from Ross Young, known for his display supply chain reporting, says the mini LED display on the 12.9-inch iPad Air isn't on the way for the event. Instead, the improved display could arrive later in 2024.

The bigger screen may also be quite expensive for consumers too, as a change in size has always been accompanied by a price increase. It'll be cheaper than the Pro equivalent, but probably not as much as people want.

If the iPad Air does get this display, it further distances it from the 10th generation iPad in the product lineup.

There have also been claims that the new iPad Air could get a new landscape FaceTime camera. One that could be better used in a landscape orientation than in portrait.

New Apple Pencil



The next Apple Pencil, which is often referred to as the Apple Pencil 3 despite potentially being the fourth release is also expected.

The USB-C Apple Pencil
The USB-C Apple Pencil



The main rumor is a new squeeze gesture, including detecting long and short squeezes and multiple squeezes to trigger different actions.

There is also the belief that Apple could incorporate interchangeable tips in the Apple Pencil. In theory, this could change how the Apple Pencil feels to when the user draws on the display, or perhaps how the device interfaces with drawing apps.

There have also been suggestions of adding Find My functionality, though that seems less likely than the other rumors surrounding the device.

New Magic Keyboard for iPad



The Magic Keyboard is already an impressive accessory for the iPad Pro, but it could be made to become even more useful.

Apple Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro
Apple Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro
Rumors

from back in September, which have persisted over the months, anticipate an overhaul in the accessory's design. Primary among the rumors are that the top case area around the keyboard could use aluminum, making it look more like a MacBook.

The change can also go beyond aesthetics, with alterations making the accessory stronger and sturdier. There has also been a hint in rumors that the trackpad could be made larger.

Maybe: USB-C peripherals



After failing to arrive in October, rumors in December claimed that Apple will be bringing out versions of its accessories that continues the company's shift away from Lightning in favor of USB-C.

This list included the Apple Magic Mouse, Magic Keyboard, and Trackpad, with a Spring 2024 launch date expected for the collection.

The key here is that, while they are chiefly Mac peripherals, adding USB-C support makes it a bit easier to attach each to an iPad or iPad Pro. This could make the iPad Pro more of a desk-based workstation for users who prefer to work that way.

Also rans: Macs, iPad, iPad Mini, folding iPad



While not as show-stopping as the iPad Pro and Air updates, Apple does regularly make updates to the base-model iPad, and sometimes to the iPad mini too. However, such updates are typically more low-key and tend to include smaller changes or specification bumps.

A rumor from October claimed that the iPad mini 7 would get only a minimal spec-bump upgrade from the iPad mini 6. This could consist of an update from the A15 Bionic chip to a newer variant, but with no real other alterations.

This does seem plausible if Apple does update the iPad mini, and a similar change could also happen to the iPad. However there are relatively few rumors about the models at all, meaning that there's a chance they won't make it into the event.

The rumor mill also agrees, with proposals that the iPad and iPad mini may not be updated until later in 2024.

There have also been rumors of a potential folding iPad, which has been long in development but has yet to make it to production. There have been claims of a folding iPad launch, but given the claims of 2025 or 2026, that makes it a bit doubtful.

The event is expected to be about the same length as the Halloween MacBook Pro event in 2023. Mac releases are not expected at the event.



Read on AppleInsider

«1

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 24
    MisterKitMisterKit Posts: 507member
    iPad hardware has been more than enough for several generations now. If there is any breakthrough advance it lies with the software.
    muthuk_vanalingamrmusikantowentropysnubusbeowulfschmidtjeffharrisgregoriusmAlex1Nbala1234dewme
  • Reply 2 of 24
    MisterKit said:
    iPad hardware has been more than enough for several generations now. If there is any breakthrough advance it lies with the software.
    I agree. I have a first generation iPad pro, and it is already powerful enough to do whatever I need.
    MisterKitgregoriusm
  • Reply 3 of 24
    thttht Posts: 5,530member
    There have also been claims that Apple could offer a matte option for the display, providing an anti-glare coating to the tablet line for the first time.
    Ooh, a loaded iPad Pro 13" is sounding more expensive all the time. Would need to see what the matte option does to image clarity, and how well it cleans. Would finger oils just seep in between the cracks of the nanotexture surface, making it hard to wipe off the finger oils?
    gregoriusmAlex1Nwilliamlondon
  • Reply 4 of 24
    AniMillAniMill Posts: 170member
    Very excited about a 13” iPad Air supporting an Apple Pencil w/ pressure sensitivity. This would be my next. I’ve had the 11” iPad Pro since it was released, and it’s still plenty quick - it’s also got a broken screen. I’d rather put the $800 screen replacement cost into a new unit. Here’s hoping the 13” Air w/ Cellular is reasonably priced. 
    williamlondon
  • Reply 5 of 24
    fastasleepfastasleep Posts: 6,444member
    The key here is that, while they are chiefly Mac peripherals, adding USB-C support makes it a bit easier to attach each to an iPad or iPad Pro. This could make the iPad Pro more of a desk-based workstation for users who prefer to work that way.

    How so? They’re wireless. For charging, it’s irrelevant. 
    Alex1Nwilliamlondon
  • Reply 6 of 24
    blastdoorblastdoor Posts: 3,378member
    I was looking forward to a 13 inch iPad Air but largely because I like playing Civ 6. 

    Unfortunately, the game is now broken, so there will be no point for me to buy a new iPad unless/until it’s fixed. 
    gregoriusmwilliamlondon
  • Reply 7 of 24
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 3,965member
    MisterKit said:
    iPad hardware has been more than enough for several generations now. If there is any breakthrough advance it lies with the software.
    True. And $1500 is well into laptop territory for price. They’ve slowly been increasing the capabilities of iPadOS but that’s been the limiting factor for quite some time.

     Apple also really needs to merge the regular/air lines and get rid of one of them.
    MisterKitnubusVictorMortimerAlex1Nwilliamlondon
  • Reply 8 of 24
    nubusnubus Posts: 458member

    The bigger screen may also be quite expensive for consumers too, as a change in size has always been accompanied by a price increase. It'll be cheaper than the Pro equivalent, but probably not as much as people want. 

    MBA M2 15" did push down the price of the MBA 13". I do hope Apple will repeat this and lower the cost of Air.
    Price could go further down if Apple decided to use an A-series chip instead of M-series.

    As for USB C... AirPods Max and iPhone SE are both due for upgrades. If WWDC is the time for AI then perhaps more products will see updates now?
    Alex1Nwilliamlondon
  • Reply 9 of 24
    Everything is OLED screens but Apple products!  LOL!  Even the Chineses branded laptops, tablets, PC monitors and smartphones!
    williamlondon
  • Reply 10 of 24
    eightzeroeightzero Posts: 3,094member
    Choices are good, I'm glad Apple is making them, and hope they are successful. But there is nothing for me here. iPad for me is a consumption device only. Read, doomscroll, fall asleep in bed. I like it, but like many Apple devices, it does way more that I need it to. And that's fine, not a criticism...so long as all the whiz bang stuff can be easily controlled, if not simply turned off.
    Alex1Njas99
  • Reply 11 of 24
    eightzeroeightzero Posts: 3,094member
    Everything is OLED screens but Apple products!  LOL!  Even the Chineses branded laptops, tablets, PC monitors and smartphones!
    Yep. You have choices, contrary to what the US DoJ claims. 
    williamlondonjas99
  • Reply 12 of 24
    charlesncharlesn Posts: 907member
    The Apple Pencil has been with us for 9 years, so I find it hard to believe that the "Let Loose" tagline--in 2024--is a reference to drawing with an Apple Pencil. Admittedly, the graphic does seem to suggest that, but if "let loose with your Apple Pencil" is the best that marketing could come up with for excitement around this event, hoo boy... that's not good! 

    Here's a thought: maybe it's wireless charging for the iPad? So no wires lets you "let loose?" Yeah, that's probably a stretch... but more exciting than the Apple Pencil. 
    jas99
  • Reply 13 of 24
    eightzero said:
    Everything is OLED screens but Apple products!  LOL!  Even the Chineses branded laptops, tablets, PC monitors and smartphones!
    Yep. You have choices, contrary to what the US DoJ claims. 
    Not if you want iOS devices. 

    Android junk? Not for me.
    VictorMortimerJFC_PA
  • Reply 14 of 24

    charlesn said:
    Here's a thought: maybe it's wireless charging for the iPad? So no wires lets you "let loose?" Yeah, that's probably a stretch... but more exciting than the Apple Pencil. 
    The “wireless” charging thing still needs a wire, so what’s the point? More stuff to buy.

    I can still use my iPad or iPhone WHILE they’re plugged in and charging. With either sitting in a charging pad, it’s not so easy.
    MisterKitretrogustoVictorMortimerAlex1NJFC_PA
  • Reply 15 of 24
    dpkrohdpkroh Posts: 43member
    I have been using the "Pro" version of iPads since they debuted in 2016.  They are slightly nice than regular iPads, but the word "Pro" has always been an exaggeration.

    There is only one way an iPad Pro could be deserving of the "Pro" moniker.  It should be able to dual boot Mac OS or even simultaneously run both OSs.  That would be Pro.  Now that both Mac and iPad have been running on Apple processors for some time, this should be an easy thing to do.

    I find both iPadOS and MacOS to be useful in ways the other is not.  My usual coffee shop working solution includes both an MacBook Air M2, and an 11 inch M1 iPad Pro. Sometimes I use sidecar, but I often find the iPad more useful in iPad OS mode, to complement the MacOS at the same time.  Sometimes an app is preferable to using a web page.  With universal clip board I can instantly copy between both devices, and of course, I can use the MacBook keyboard on both devices.

    It would be more even more convenient and portable  to be able to work this way with just one device.   A 13 inch iPad True Pro, that can be used as pure tablet, or as both tablet and MacOS, or just MacOS.  The different OSs could operate in separate windows in what could be called  "Stage Manager Pro".


    VictorMortimerAlex1Nwilliamlondon
  • Reply 16 of 24
    thttht Posts: 5,530member
    dpkroh said:
    There is only one way an iPad Pro could be deserving of the "Pro" moniker.  It should be able to dual boot Mac OS or even simultaneously run both OSs.  That would be Pro.  Now that both Mac and iPad have been running on Apple processors for some time, this should be an easy thing to do.

    I trust that you are more dissatisfied with the iPad Pro’s functionality rather than that it has “Pro” in its name, nor that it doesn’t have macOS running on it. 

    “Pro” just means “more” just like Max or Ultra. It just means some aspect of the product is more featured than the lower models in the product line. 

    The 2024 iPad Pro models will be a more beautiful object than the iPad and iPad Air models, sleeker, thinner, lighter, smaller display margins. It will have a better display, more performant compute, cameras, I/O. There is a possibility that the keyboard case and Pencil accessories will have “Pro” labels, with better build and features. So, more than enough features to for the upsell over the Air models. 

    Software wise, it seems obvious that they will not have it run macOS. Stage Manager might have double the concurrent windows, there may even be a darwinOS VM, a Preview.app and maybe even a background multi-stream background audio/video subsystem, but they are designing it as a tablet. It may have some PC device like features, but it is a tablet. It may be suitable for most people and be able to replace their laptops and desktops, but a tablet still. 
    Alex1N
  • Reply 17 of 24
    macguimacgui Posts: 2,384member
    I've owned several iPads since the first day of the first iPad. They've always done more than I could take advantage of. I'm disappointed by Apple's insistence of many apps having sidebars, like Mail, instead of keeping text and icons small while hobbling real estate.

    I'd like to see the option of selecting different resolutions, similar to wanting a bigger image on a TV, you bought a bigger TV. My current iPads are a 5th Gen mini and a 10.5" iPP. The trend towards 12" and 13" iPads leaves me cold. No doubt others have a use case where these work for them.

    The only thing that will make me upgrade to a new iP is OLED screens. I don't expect them this time around, but until then my current gear will do. New software just means to me moving things around or cramming more stuff on the screen, and that doesn't help me. 

    OK maybe throw in a native clock app like the Swiss Railroad Clock that give trouble, a native weather app, and a native, simple calculator. I'd like a real On/Off switch as on the Magic TrackPad/TrackPad 2. Most of that won't happen.
    Alex1N
  • Reply 18 of 24
    raymondairaymondai Posts: 43member
    Need a M-series cpu for iPad Mini, or whatever it named, just please keep the screen size under 9 inches, it may just for me, but for people who play games, a device with a bigger screen than iPhone Pro Max for “AAA Games” is a better option? I am not a mobile gamer, no experience of it, just think about is there a bigger market for M-series iPad Mini?
  • Reply 19 of 24
    longfanglongfang Posts: 482member
    All I need from an updated iPad mini is a higher refresh rate screen. Going from an iPad Pro to the mini can be jarring. 
  • Reply 20 of 24
    Let’s go ahead and drop that entry-level iPad price point to $399, and  that iPad Air starting price to $499
Sign In or Register to comment.