Could We See an M1 iPad This Fall?

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After a dry 2023 for iPad releases, Apple spiced things up in May with a new M2 iPad Air that gained a new 13-inch size and the surprising M4 iPad Pro, which became the first device to usher in Apple’s next-generation silicon only weeks after the M3 chip came to the MacBook Air.

Still, despite those big announcements, it’s pretty clear that Apple isn’t done with new iPads this year. The iPad Pro and iPad Air cover the mid-tier and flagship spots, but there’s still the entry-level iPad, which hasn’t been updated since late 2022, and the diminutive iPad mini that’s now pushing three years since its last update.

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We’re not expecting too much from either model; even rumors of the iPad mini 7 suggest only modest upgrades that could still leave it a notch behind its midrange counterpart, the iPad Air. The 11th-generation iPad will also likely follow in the footsteps of the current 10th-gen model, the final iPad to adopt the unified flat-edged design and edge-to-edge screen.

Regardless of what those new iPads may hold, we’ve received new confirmation that they’re on the way. Following his report of five new iPhone identifiers, four of which undoubtedly represent this fall’s iPhone 16 lineup, code sleuth Nicolás Álvarez also dug out a lineup of identifiers for as-yet-unreleased iPads. MacRumors contributor Aaron Perris shared the list on X with some educated guesses as to what they might be:

As with the iPhone identifiers, the first number represents the processor generation used in the device. This year’s “iPhone17” references suggest A18 chips across the board, just like the “iPhone16” identifiers for the iPhone 15 Pro models matched the A17 Pro, and the “iPhone15” identifiers were used for the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 15, both of which used Apple’s A16 Bionic.

This trend goes all the way back to the first two iPhone models, the 2007 original and the 2008 iPhone 3G, both of which used the same custom pre-A-series silicon and received the same “iPhone1” designator. That trend has continued in every model since. For example, the iPhone 5C, which used the same A6 chip as the prior year’s iPhone 5, shared the “iPhone5” designator — one of the few times the identifier matched the model number since Appel’s “S” models messed with the numbering (the other time was the iPhone X).

However, this is a little trickier with iPads since Apple adopted the M-series chips in its higher-end tablets. Traditionally, the numbers have corresponded to the iPhone identifiers, but the newer chips have changed those rules.

For example, the iPad mini 6 is “iPad14,” matching the iPhone 13’s “iPhone14” identifier, both of which use Apple’s A15 Bionic. The 2020 iPad Air, which had the A14 Bionic, also logically used “iPad13” matching the iPhone 12’s “iPhone13.”

However, the idea that the “iPad13,20” and “iPad13,21” models represent a scrapped A14 iPad doesn’t make much sense at this point. The current 10th-generation iPad, which already uses an A14 chip, was released in 2022. The idea that Apple would have had another A14-powered model on the drawing board that it chose to abandon doesn’t track.

This is where the identifiers mix things up a bit. Apple’s M1 iPad Air and M1 iPad Pro also used the “iPad13” designator, presumably since the A14 and M1 chips were from the same era.

With that in mind, it seems much more reasonable for the two “iPad13” models on this list to represent a new iPad with an M1 chip.

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After all, we’ve just entered the era of Apple Intelligence, which requires a device with a minimum of an M1 or an A17 Pro with 8GB of RAM or more. It would be very unusual for Apple to release new iPads that won’t support its groundbreaking new AI features.

By this fall, the M1 will be a four-year-old chip no longer used in any current Mac or iPad models. Bringing it to the 11th-generation iPad would be a reasonable move to ensure that entry-level device isn’t left out of the Apple Intelligence family.

Similarly, the M2 iPad Pro and recent M2 iPad Air use the identifier “iPad14,” which aligns the M2 chip with the A15 Bionic, despite the iPhone chip debuting nearly a year before the first M2 Macs came on the scene.

Apple skipped over “iPad15” entirely, moving the M4 iPad Pro to “iPad16.” The theory is that “iPad15” would represent the M3 chip, but so far, it’s only been used for the A16 Bionic from the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 15.

With six “iPad15” models on the list, the idea that Apple may have skipped over some M3 iPad Pro models on the way to the M4 makes sense, but Apple could also surprise us by releasing an iPad mini with an M3 chip. Again, the idea that an “iPad15” would represent a device with an A16 Bionic doesn’t seem to mesh with the company’s new Apple Intelligence. On the other hand, Apple seems to be in a hurry to move on from the M3 chip.

There are two “iPad16” entries with lower numbers than the current crop of M4 iPad Pro models, so an iPad mini with an A17 Pro chip seems the more likely option. The smaller size might be the rationale for using an iPhone-class chip instead of the new M-series silicon. Apple might also flip that script and put an A17 Pro in the 11th-gen iPad and the M1 chip in the iPad mini.

The fact that there are only two entries for this points to an iPad or iPad mini since those models come in a single size, with Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi+Cellular configurations. The iPad Air and iPad Pro have four combinations: separate Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi+Cellular versions for each of the 11-inch and 13-inch models.

The “iPad17” identifiers are entirely new and are believed to represent a series of iPad Pro models slated for early next year that will gain the next-generation M5 chip.

Of course, this is all purely speculation, and the mixture of M-series and A-series chips in modern iPads makes it much harder to predict anything accurately. While it’s almost a given that we’ll see more new iPads later this year, we’ll have to wait and see what kind of chips they pack in.

[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.]

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