Mark Your Calendars: New iPads Expected to Launch The Week of May 6

Our long iPadless nightmare may soon be coming to an end.
iPad Pro 11 and 12.9 inch models with Magic keyboards Credit: Daniel Romero
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Apple’s unprecedented 18-month drought of iPad releases is expected to end early next month when the company unveils the first of its 2024 iPad lineup, and now Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman is putting a date on when we can expect to see the new iPad Pro and iPad Air lineups arrive.

In this week’s Power On newsletter, Gurman reiterates his earlier prediction that Apple will launch its new iPads in May, adding: “For those looking for more specific timing, I’m told the launch will probably happen the week of May 6.”

That timeframe is backed up by the additional evidence of Apple retail stores getting ready for new product marketing materials during that week, which is “typically a sign that a new product release is incoming.”

If Apple follows its typical playbook, we’ll likely see the new iPads appear as a relatively quiet newsroom announcement similar to what Apple did for the M3 MacBook Air in early March. In that case, they should be up for order from Apple’s website immediately and land in retail stores later that week, coinciding with these “marketing materials” that Gurman refers to.

While May 6 will mark 560 days since a new iPad model was introduced — 2023 was the first year we didn’t see a single new iPad model in the tablet’s history — there’s every indication that the new models will be worth the wait for iPad fans.

Altogether, this launch is shaping up to be one of the biggest updates to the Apple tablet in a single day. Mark Gurman

The iPad Pro is expected to gain an OLED screen for the first time ever. That will be a nice improvement over the mini-LED 12.9-inch model and a vast improvement over the 11-inch iPad Pro, which never got the mini-LED treatment and was left behind with an LCD panel. Both models will undoubtedly move to an M3 chip, putting them on par with Apple’s latest entry-level MacBooks.

Meanwhile, the iPad Air is getting a big brother, with a larger 12.9-inch model expected to be added to the family. Apple’s midrange tablet is predicted to have few other changes beyond the usual spec bump of moving from the M1 chip in the current model to an M2 chip in the new ones.

However, both the iPad Pro and iPad Air are also expected to get a landscape camera to make them more suitable for online video calls when being used in a more typical laptop-like orientation. Apple made the bold switch on the 10th-generation iPad in late 2022 but left the camera position unchanged on the M2 iPad Pro that was released around the same time.

That might have partially been an attempt by Apple to try out the new design and see how people received it, but it’s also likely that some engineering challenges were involved. The iPad Pro and iPad Air have long offered a magnetic attachment on that longer edge to dock and charge the Apple Pencil; the 10th-gen iPad didn’t have that option, clearing the way for a camera to go there instead.

As a result, it’s believed that Apple will also release a new Apple Pencil. At a basic level, it will probably realign the internal magnets to allow it to dock and charge somewhere else on the iPad — possibly on the “top” short edge — but there are indications that it could also include some new controls such as a “squeeze” gesture.

A new Magic Keyboard is also expected, but it’s less clear what changes that will offer. It could turn out to be little more than a redesign to accommodate the new iPad sizes; the iPad Pro is expected to be noticeably thinner due to the OLED panels.

It’s a big shakeup for two iPad families that have seen mostly incremental improvements over the past few years. The iPad Pro got a major design refresh in 2018, adopting Face ID and an edge-to-edge screen, but since then, it’s mostly been spec bumps to bring it up to the latest chips. The early 2020 models gained a LiDAR sensor, while the 12.9-inch iPad Pro moved to mini-LED in 2021 — a change that made the 11-inch model feel even more stale by comparison. The iPad Air switched to the iPad Pro design in 2020, sans Face ID, but has been coasting along since then with little more than processor improvements each year.

[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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