New iPads Are Coming — But Not Until May

iPad Air Spring 2022 4
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In something of a “good news/bad news” report, Bloombeg’s Mark Gurman has confirmed that Apple’s new iPad Air and iPad Pro lineup has officially entered production. The bad news? It looks like they aren’t coming until May.

In a new report today, Gurman shares additional details on Apple’s exciting early 2024 iPad models. While there aren’t any surprises here after all the rumors we’ve heard over the past several weeks, things appear to be locked down now that the iPads are on the assembly line.

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The new iPad Pro models are codenamed J717, J718, J720, and J721, presumably accounting for the Wi-FI and Wi-Fi + Cellular versions in the two different sizes. They’ll pack in Apple’s M3 chip and get “crisper new OLED displays.” They’ll also be designed to work with “redesigned versions of the Magic Keyboard and Apple Pencil,” although it’s still unclear exactly what those design changes will be.

Meanwhile, the iPad Air will get a big brother in the form of a 12.9-inch screen size, bringing the larger form factor to a broader audience that might not otherwise want to splurge on the pricey iPad Pro. Gurman doesn’t offer any specifics on what chip will power these new iPad Air models, but since the current 2022 version uses an M1, it would be logical to assume these will get the M2 to keep them a notch being the premium iPad Pro.

There aren’t many other upgrades expected in the new iPad Air, although persistent rumors have suggested that Apple plans to move the camera from the short edge to the long edge, making it more usable in landscape orientation. A sizeable number of iPad users have been clamoring for this for years, but even though this change came to the standard 10th-generation iPad in 2022, the M2 iPad Pro models released around the same time left the camera in the same position as before.

However, that may not have merely been intransigence on Apple’s part. In the iPad Pro and iPad Air, a magnetic charging dock for the Apple Pencil occupies the space where the front camera would need to go, and it’s probably telling that although Apple introduced a new USB-C pencil last fall that magnetically attaches to the 10th-gen iPad, there’s no charging support.

This could be why Apple is preparing to introduce a new Apple Pencil, which could be redesigned to solve the magnetic charging problem by docking elsewhere on the new models. There’s been some speculation about other new features Apple could bring to its third-generation stylus, but those rumors have been making the rounds for years, yet we’ve heard nothing concrete about the Apple Pencil that’s coming other than that it will be “a redesigned version.”

Ditto for the Magic Keyboard, which isn’t likely to be more than a form-factor change to accommodate the new iPad Pro models, which are expected to be substantially thinner thanks to the new OLED screen technology.

As for the delay, Gurman maintains that Apple wanted to have the new iPads out by the end of March, but between “finishing software for the devices” and dealing with some “complex new manufacturing techniques” for the screens, the timeline has slipped back from late March to mid-April, and now into May.

We’ve already been through what Gurman calls “a drought” in the iPad product lineup. 2023 was the first year in the 13-year history of Apple’s tablet that not a single new model was shown, and by the time May rolls around, it will have been 554 days, or over 18 months, since a new iPad model was introduced.

[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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