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A new report claims Apple is working on two new versions of a sixth-generation iPad Air for each of the Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi + Cellular models.
That works out to four separate models in total, according to the report, which comes from 9to5Mac. However, it does not say what the differences would be between the two separate iPad Air models that are said to be on the way.
The report speculates that since Apple makes two versions of the iPad Pro in two different sizes, Apple may be planning to release a larger version of the iPad Air to accompany the current 10.9-inch version. The report also says it is possible that Apple may be planning “a more expensive model with better specs.”
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While that is a possibility, the iPad lineup already includes the iPad Pro in two sizes, a base model iPad in the standard size, and the smaller iPad mini. This means a larger or higher-end iPad Air might not fit well into the lineup. 9to5Mac covers its rear by mentioning that Apple’s plans could always change, and a second iPad Air model might not make an appearance.
There have also been rumors that Apple is working on a seventh-generation iPad mini, as well as an 11th-generation base iPad. Neither new tablet is expected to boast major updates.
9to5Mac says that its sources believe the seventh-generation iPad mini is coming “soon.” The report also speculates that all of Apple’s new iPads will be announced “between now and WWDC 2024 in June,” which leaves plenty of room for speculation.
In July, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman said Apple was working on a slightly spec-bumped sixth-generation iPad Air, although he didn’t have any information as to when the new iPad Air model might debut.
Apple supply-chain analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said last month that Apple will not likely unveil any new iPads during 2023 and that new iPad Air and iPad mini models would instead debut sometime in 2024.
The iPad Air has not been updated since March 2022, so the tablet’s specs have stood pat for more than a year now. The current iPad Air is powered by an M1 chip, so Apple may be waiting until the M3 chip is ready before updating the device.
In late September 2023, Kuo said despite the expectation that Apple’s upcoming 2024 MacBooks and iPads would be powered by 3nm chips, Apple might find that demand for the devices would be below expectations due to a “lack of growth drivers.”
Kuo says Apple is lacking a driving catalyst to drive new customers, as users are returning to office-based work post-pandemic. He says it is also lacking new features like the Apple Silicon-based M1, which drove sales a few years ago as customers looked to upgrade from Intel-based Macs.
It should also be noted that the iPad mini has not been refreshed since September 2021. However, that’s not surprising as Apple doesn’t show much update love for the mini on a regular basis.
The first generation iPad Air was announced on October 22, 2013, and was released on November 1, 2013. The first-generation Air boasted a Retina Display and was powered by an Apple A7 chip that included an embedded Apple M7 Motion coprocessor. It had 802.11n-based MINO WiFi technology and extended-range LTE telecommunication.
However, those first two iPad Air models in 2013 and 2014 were effectively just updates to the standard iPad lineup under a new name; it wasn’t until the third-generation model came along with higher specs in early 2019 that the iPad Air took its place as Apple’s new middle-tier iPad family.
[The information provided in this article has NOT been confirmed by Apple and may be speculation. Provided details may not be factual. Take all rumors, tech or otherwise, with a grain of salt.]