Monday, April 22, 2024

Apple may announce new iPads next month. Here’s everything we expect

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The yellow iPad (2022) lying face-down on a green bush.Joe Maring / Digital Trends

When it comes to Apple, we expect a new product refresh annually at this point, including for the iPad. However, that didn’t happen in 2023. In fact, 2023 was the first year that Apple didn’t release a new iPad model at all, which means we haven’t had new iPad releases since 2022.

Contents

  • iPad Pro
  • iPad Air
  • iPad mini
  • iPad
  • Big changes are coming

It’s unclear why we didn’t see any new iPads last year. However, that should also be an indicator that we can expect some big changes for the next generation of iPad models, which are rumored to come out this year. Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman has even said that we could see new iPads as early as March.

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With that in mind, here are the biggest things that we could be seeing with Apple’s 2024 iPad lineup.

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iPad Pro

Joe Maring / Digital Trends

Since the iPad Pro is Apple’s top-tier tablet, this will have the biggest and most significant upgrades out of the entire lineup. This next iPad Pro could set the course for what we should expect from iPads in the years to come.

When Apple launched the 10th-generation iPad in 2022, it was the first iPad to relocate the front-facing camera to landscape orientation. This repositioned camera placement is much more natural when it comes to making video calls on the iPad, and it’s been rumored that this change will also make its way to the iPad Pro. However, since the Apple Pencil wirelessly charges along that edge, we might see a new docking position for it.

The next generation of iPad Pro is also expected to be upgraded to an OLED display. Currently, the 11-inch iPad Pro has an LCD display, while the 12.9-inch model uses mini-LED. With an OLED display, the iPad Pro will have much better color accuracy and contrast, and since OLED panels are actually more power efficient, it may have an effect on battery life too.

The next iPad Pro models might also be getting a slight increase in display size thanks to slimmer bezels around the screen. The 11-inch model could be bumped up to 11.1 inches, and the 12.9-inch version could go up to 13 inches. This would also help further differentiate the Pro models from the midrange iPad Air.

Joe Maring / Digital Trends

Right now, the iPad Pro is powered by Apple’s in-house silicon in the form of the M2 chip. For the next-generation iPad Pros, we can definitely expect to see the M3 inside, and the storage could also be bumped up to 4TB. If that’s the case, then Apple might make the starting storage option 256GB rather than 128GB to retain the five-tier system (128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB, 2TB currently).

So far, those are the biggest changes we are certain Apple will make to the iPad Pro. Other possibilities include a new four-pin connector on the top and bottom side edges that is different from the Smart Connector, MagSafe wireless charging, reverse wireless charging, a redesigned Magic Keyboard, and a new third-generation Apple Pencil.

Of course, if all of these upgrades for the iPad Pro are true, it would also mean a more expensive starting price.

iPad Air

Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

The iPad Air has been a great value for a lot of people, as it offers most of the “pro” features of Apple’s higher-end iPad Pros, but at a more affordable price. This year, Apple could be bringing another “pro” feature to the iPad Air: a second, larger size.

Reports have circulated that Apple is planning to launch a 12.9-inch iPad Air in addition to the 10.9-inch size that it currently offers. This would make sense if Apple is planning to equip the iPad Pros with OLED displays, as the iPad Air could offer a larger size, but still be affordable by utilizing an LCD display.

Other than a second larger model, there aren’t other design changes rumored for the next-generation iPad Air. It would likely still have the Touch ID sensor in the top button, keeping Face ID as an iPad Pro-exclusive feature.

The price for a 12.9-inch iPad Air would likely sit somewhere between that of the 10.9-inch iPad Air and the 11-inch iPad Pro.

iPad mini

Adam Doud / Digital Trends

The iPad mini has long been overdue for a refresh, as the iPad mini 6 came out in 2021. However, compared to what the iPad Pro and iPad Air may be getting, the iPad mini’s potential upgrades are a little less exciting.

Gurman, as well as popular Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, both believe we will see a new iPad mini this year, but not until the latter half of 2024. This would make sense since it has been three years since the last iPad mini.

Reports suggest the iPad mini 7 will have a faster chip, possibly the A16 Bionic, though it might even get the A17 or even an M-series chip. The front and rear 12MP cameras could see some improvements, and there should be support for Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.3, both of which are standards that Apple has already added to other recent products.

The iPad mini 7 should also be getting new colors, but it’s unclear what those colors may be.

iPad

Joe Maring / Digital Trends

Like the iPad mini, Apple isn’t expected to release an updated base-model iPad until the second half of 2024. While the 10th-generation iPad got some big changes in 2022 with a new design, larger display, USB-C, and other improvements, it appears this year’s update will be more iterative.

Since it just got a redesign, the 11th-generation iPad will still have the same design as its predecessor. Apple will, of course, add a faster processor and may improve the cameras just a bit, but otherwise, there aren’t any major new features to expect.

Big changes are coming

Joe Maring / Digital Trends

This year will be a big one for Apple’s iPad lineup, no doubt about it. But it does look like the iPad Pro will be getting the biggest upgrades out of all of them, with a possible size increase, an M3 chip, OLED displays, and more.

Upgrades for the rest of the lineup are a bit more minor. The iPad Air is likely getting a bigger size option to choose from, and the iPad mini and iPad will get much needed spec bumps.

based on the timeline, it looks like we will see the iPad Pro and iPad Air next month, whereas the iPad mini and iPad will show up later this year.

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