10.9-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Air: All the rumors about the 6th-gen model

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Macworld

The iPad Air was last updated in March 2022 and rumors suggest that the arrival of a new model (or two!) could be coming soon. Here’s all we know so far about the 6th generation iPad Air. The most recent Apple event took place on October 30, but there were no new iPads at that event, but we expect one in early 2024. Here’s everything you need to know about the new model.

2024 iPad Air release date: When will the new model arrive?

Expected: Spring 2024

Apple’s event on October 30 saw the company only launch new Macs, and 2023 passed without a single iPad update for the first time since Apple’s late CEO and founder Steve Jobs introduced the category in 2010. The past three generations of iPad Air arrived about 18 months apart, and since the 5th generation arrived in March 2022, we are overdue for an update.

But we might not have much longer to wait. In early December 2023, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman reported that Apple is planning to release new iPads and an M3 MacBook Air by the end of March 2024. He repeated that claim in January 2024, reporting that new iPads had gone into production ahead of a March launch.

The iPad Air is unlikely to be the only iPad getting an update in 2024. In November 2023, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo wrote that Apple will refresh all four iPad lines—standard, mini, Air, and Pro—in 2024. Gurman believes that a new iPad Pro will also launch at the March event.

Ross Young, an analyst who specializes in the displays industry, tweeted that shipments of the display panels for a new 12.9-inch Air began in December, which indicates a spring release.

12.9” iPad Air panel shipments started in December…

— Ross Young (@DSCCRoss) December 10, 2023

2024 iPad Air sizes: Is Apple preparing to release a larger model?

Rumored: The standard 10.9-inch model and a new 12.9-inch option.

An October 2023 9to5Mac report claimed, not only that “there are multiple new iPads on track for the coming months,” but that this includes two new iPad Air models. The site indicates that Apple “may be considering introducing a larger version of the iPad Air, or a more expensive model with better specs.” This theory seems to be based on the fact that there are two codenames associated with the new iPad Air: J507 and J508, with the only other iPad having two codenames being the iPad Pro, which also comes in two sizes.

In November Ming-Chi Kuo discussed the additional iPad Air size, saying that the iPad Air line will be split into two sizes: 10.9-inch and a new 12.9-inch model. And the tweet above from Young also confirms the existence of a new iPad Air display size.

The iPad Air 6 will likely have a similar design to the 2022 model.

IDG

2024 iPad Air price: How much will the new model cost?

Expected: Starting at $599 for the 10.9-inch model; $699 for the 12.9-inch model.

International price drop? Outside the U.S. Apple shoppers are hoping Apple will reverse the price hikes of the past few years, as they did with the iPhone.

Regarding the potential pricing of the iPad Air 6, we can look at the generations that have preceded it as a clue for what you’ll have to pay when it finally does arrive.

iPad Air (5th Generation)

64GB, Wi-Fi – $599 / £669

256GB, Wi-Fi – $749 / £849

64GB, Cellular – $749 / £849

256GB, Cellular – $899 / £1,029

iPad Air (4th Generation)

64GB, Wi-Fi – $599 / £579

256GB, Wi-Fi – $749 / £729

64GB, Cellular – $729 /£709

256GB, Cellular – $879 / £859

As you can see, Apple kept most of the pricing roughly the same for its U.S. customers when moving between the last few generations, while outside the U.S. buyers got hit with aggressive price hikes (a trend that happened across all Apple products). However, Apple reversed these price hikes in 2023 when it introduced the iPhone 15, so we are hopeful that outside the U.S. Apple shoppers may see iPad prices decrease.

If Apple does introduce a higher spec or larger iPad Air to accompany the current size, we could see lower prices for the entry-level model and higher prices at the top of the range. But with the iPad mini costing $499, it’s more likely that Apple adds $100 or $150 for the larger model. This would be similar pricing as the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus and create some distance between the Air and Pro lines.

There may be a larger iPad Air in 2024.

IDG

2024 iPad Air features: How will the new model be better?

For a device whose release could be imminent, there are a ton of rumors about the iPad Air 6. This might be a case of Apple tightening up any leaks that were appearing in its production chain, or that any updates to the iPad Air will be minimal. Here’s what we do know:

A new M2 processor

The most obvious area where the iPad Air 6 will be superior to the iPad Air 5 is in the processor. The iPad Air 5 already boasts a pretty nifty M1 chip, but the iPad Pro has been sporting M2 silicon for over a year, and it’s likely to get an update to the new M3 chipset in 2024. So it’s likely that Apple will keep the iPad Air on the older M2 generation to make the iPad Pro more attractive to high-end users. Gurman and others have reported that Apple’s plan is indeed to put an M2 chip in the iPad Air.

A bigger and better display

While the iPad Pro is rumored to gain an OLED display for the first time, it’s likely that the iPad gets the same treatment. Rather, Apple is planning on introducing a larger iPad Air at the same 12.9 inches as the iPad Pro, but without slightly different tech, according to Ming-Chi Kuo: “The 12.9-inch iPad Air is an all-new model, and while it lacks mini-LED, it benefits from an Oxide backplane (the same spec as the existing mini-LED iPad Pros), offering better display performance than the 10.9-inch iPad Air with an a-Si backplane.”

Leaked renders show the 2024 iPad Air with a near-identical design as the current model.

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The same design with new colors

Unfortunately, the iPad Air is unlikely to get a new design to with the new model. Leaked renders of the new device show a design that’s nearly identical to the current model, including the placement of the front camera on the short edge. We had hoped Apple might change the placement to landscape after the 10th-gen iPad changed the position. It appears not to be, however.

The only design change to speak of is a slight tweak to the rear camera. While we don’t expect it to gain a second camera, Apple will apparently put the flash inside a new oval camera well. We also expect new colors, either brighter to match the 10th-gen iPad or more muted to match the iPhone 15.

More storage options

Since the release of the iPhone 13, Apple has offered a baseline storage capacity of 128GB. Sadly, this hasn’t been the case with the iPad line, which currently starts at a rather paltry 64GB unless you opt for a Pro model. Could the iPad Air 6 finally see this change? We hope rather than know that when the iPad Air 6 turns up, it will be endowed with a roomy 128GB so it can become a laptop replacement without paying extra for the 256GB model. With a larger screen, there have also been reports of higher storage options like the iPad Pro.

We will continue to monitor the latest news and rumors surrounding the 2024 iPad Air, so be sure to check back regularly to see what we can find. In the meantime, here’s a selection of the best deals for the iPad Air 5.


Retailer
Price
$449.99
$587.94
$599
$599
Product
Price
iPad Air (2014) 64GB – Silver – (Wi-Fi)

$92
iPad Air (2014) 64GB – Silver – (Wi-Fi)

$92

$169.99
iPad Air (2022) 64GB – Blue – (Wi-Fi)

$449
iPad Air (2022) 64GB – Blue – (Wi-Fi)

$449
iPad Air (2022) 64GB – Space Gray – (Wi-Fi)

$469
iPad Air (2022) 64GB – Space Gray – (Wi-Fi)

$469
iPad Air (2022) 64GB – Pink – (Wi-Fi)

$470.99
iPad Air (2022) 64GB – Starlight – (Wi-Fi)

$495.09
iPad Air (2020) 256GB – Green – (Wi-Fi)

$529
iPad Air (2020) 256GB – Green – (Wi-Fi)

$529

$609.99

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