Don’t Expect an iPad Announcement Next Week

Apple's Latest ECC Certification Hints New iPads Are Coming Soon
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Although conventional wisdom suggests that Apple still has some big iPad plans, we may have to wait until next month to actually hear about them.

Rumors have been swirling for a while that March would be a big month for Apple product releases, and while part of that came true in the form of Apple’s new M3 MacBook Air lineup, which it quietly announced on March 4, we’re still waiting for the promised debut of a new OLED iPad Pro and dual-sized iPad Air lineup.

However, as this month got closer, reports began to surface saying that the new iPads might not be ready until April. Nevertheless, with the end of March approaching, some folks have been expecting that Apple will at least unveil the new iPads before the end of the month, even if we have to wait for them to ship until next month.

Earlier this week, leaker Instant Digital put a pin in that timeline, claiming that Apple would have an announcement for us on March 26 and also suggesting that the iPad Pro would feature a matte screen option with nano-texture glass and narrower bezels, adding to previous rumors of a much thinner design overall.

Sadly, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman has thrown a bucket of cold water on those hopes, with a single tweet noting that the March 26 date is “Not true.”

While one could read that in several ways — perhaps Apple will announce the new iPads on Monday instead, which would be March 25 and align with its Monday MacBook Air announcement from earlier this month. However, it’s much more likely that Apple isn’t ready to pull the trigger on an announcement until it’s closer to a realistic ship date.

In December, Gurman predicted a March release for the new iPads, but a lot has happened since then. Maybe that’s what Apple was aiming for initially and has fallen behind schedule, or perhaps things have just come more into focus as we get closer to the actual date.

Nevertheless, although Gurman had pegged late March or early April for an iPad announcement as recently as March 11, he hedged on that a bit in this week’s Power On newsletter, saying that the “variant of iPadOS 17.4” intended to be installed on the new iPads wouldn’t be ready until at least the end of March, after which Apple would still need to install it on the initial shipments.

That process would likely push the release “deeper into next month,” Gurman said, and while Apple could still make an announcement a bit sooner, it usually prefers to have products at least available for pre-order within a week or so of their debut, or possibly even hitting shelves by that time.

It’s also uncertain whether Apple will slip these new iPads out by press release or schedule a virtual event to show them off. If the latter, we’ll probably get at least a week’s advance notice so Apple can ensure the press is ready to “attend.”

What We’re Expecting from Apple’s Early 2024 iPad Lineup

The good news is that there’s every indication the extra wait will be worth it, as Apple has some pretty big plans for the iPad Pro and iPad Air this time around.

The iPad Pro will be getting the biggest upgrades, finally making the move to an OLED screen in both sizes. While the 12.9-inch model has packed in a pretty impressive mini-LED display since 2021, the 11-inch version has been left behind on the same LCD panel that Apple has used since its redesign in 2018.

The move to OLED is expected to make the new iPad Pro models thinner than ever, and if Instant Digital’s other claims are true, they’ll also feature narrower bezels and a nano-texture matte screen. We’d take that claim with a much larger dose of salt, but it’s certainly possible. An M3 chip is also expected simply because that’s the next logical evolution for Apple’s high-end tablet.

Meanwhile, the iPad Air is expected to get a big brother in the form of a larger 12.9-inch version, plus an upgrade to the M2 chip used in the current iPad Pro.

Both models may also move to a landscape camera orientation similar to what Apple did with its 10th-generation iPad in late 2022. They’ll be accompanied by a new Magic Keyboard and third-generation Apple Pencil, although it’s unclear what new features these accessories will offer; they may simply be redesigned to accommodate the new form factors and camera positions.

[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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