New iPad Air: All the rumors about Apple’s iPad Air 6th generation

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.

An Apple event took place on October 30, but there were no new iPads at that event. Does this mean that there will be no new iPads in 2023? Read on to find out how long the wait is likely to be.

When will the new iPad Air be released?

Predicted: Spring 2024

The past three generations of iPad Air arrived about 18 months apart, so we are due an update. But 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.

Perhaps the lack of iPad attention is due to the focus on the new Apple Vision Pro, which is due to go on sale in the U.S. from February 2.

But we might not have long 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.

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. At that time Kuo claimed a new iPad Air will be entering mass production in the first half of 2024.

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 (more on the larger iPad Air rumors below).

12.9” iPad Air panel shipments started in December…

— Ross Young (@DSCCRoss) December 10, 2023

New iPad Air size

Apple could be launching two sizes of iPad Air, with a new 12.9-inch model joining the lineup.

An October 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 iPads having two codenames being the iPad Pro, which 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.

The 12.9-inch iPad Air will have a better screen, not just a bigger one, according to 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.”

According to analyst Ross Young shipment of these 12.9-inch panels has already started (as per the Tweet above).

Apple

How much will the 6th gen iPad Air cost?

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 (something that happened across all Apple products, see Is Apple ripping off the rest of the world with inflated prices?) Apple reversed these extortionate price rises 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 at the entry level and higher prices at the top of the range.

Naturally, a model with improved hardware will cost more, but as there is currently only around $200/£200 between the iPad Air 5th gen and the 11in iPad Pro, there isn’t a lot of room for a new tier. If Apple does introduce a larger iPad Air it seems likely it would be priced around $100/£100 above the regular iPad Air. This would be similar to the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus, so maybe Apple is just offering size variants for customers rather than differently equipped ‘iPad Air Plus’ models.

What new features will we see in the iPad Air 6?

For a device whose release could be imminent, there’s not actually that many rumors or leaks out there. 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.

A new processor

The most obvious area where the iPad Air 6 will be superior to the current iPad Air 5 is in the processor that powers it. The iPad Air 5 already boasts a pretty nifty M1 chip, but the 11-inch iPad Pro has been sporting M2 silicon for over a year, with reports suggesting it will get an update to a new M3 chipset. This would allow Apple to raid its parts bin and move the M2 to the iPad Air 6, while retaining the newest silicon for its Pro platform.

Tech tipster Revegnus posted on X/Twitter that this could be the case.

iPad Air6, powered by M2

— Revegnus (@Tech_Reve) March 14, 2023

New display technology

Another change Apple could be looking to bring to iPads is OLED displays. Rumors of OLED screens coming to the iPad lineup have popped up with regularity over the years. Apple is said to be in negotiations with LG, Samsung, and Chinese companies for active matrix OLEDs (AMOLEDs) that could be coming to the iPad Air and iPad mini.

While this would represent an excellent upgrade, it seems that the roadmap for this is 2025/2026, so there’s no chance that it will arrive in time for the iPad Air 6. Maybe the iPad Air 7?

However, there may be screen upgrades coming sooner than that. As mentioned above, in November 2023 analyst Ming Chi Kuo suggested that a new 12.9-inch iPad Air will feature a better screen with an Oxide backplane, as seen in the current mini-LED iPad Pros), “offering better display performance than the 10.9-inch iPad Air with an a-Si backplane.”

More storage

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 Air, which currently starts at a rather paltry 64GB. 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 that it could become the laptop replacement Apple has been marketing it as for a while now.

We will continue to monitor the latest news and rumors surrounding the iPad Air (6th Generation), 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.

iPad

​Macworld 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.

An Apple event took place on October 30, but there were no new iPads at that event. Does this mean that there will be no new iPads in 2023? Read on to find out how long the wait is likely to be.

When will the new iPad Air be released?

Predicted: Spring 2024

The past three generations of iPad Air arrived about 18 months apart, so we are due an update. But 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.

Perhaps the lack of iPad attention is due to the focus on the new Apple Vision Pro, which is due to go on sale in the U.S. from February 2.

But we might not have long 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.

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. At that time Kuo claimed a new iPad Air will be entering mass production in the first half of 2024.

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 (more on the larger iPad Air rumors below).

12.9” iPad Air panel shipments started in December…— Ross Young (@DSCCRoss) December 10, 2023

New iPad Air size

Apple could be launching two sizes of iPad Air, with a new 12.9-inch model joining the lineup.

An October 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 iPads having two codenames being the iPad Pro, which 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.

The 12.9-inch iPad Air will have a better screen, not just a bigger one, according to 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.”

According to analyst Ross Young shipment of these 12.9-inch panels has already started (as per the Tweet above).

Apple

How much will the 6th gen iPad Air cost?

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 (something that happened across all Apple products, see Is Apple ripping off the rest of the world with inflated prices?) Apple reversed these extortionate price rises 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 at the entry level and higher prices at the top of the range.

Naturally, a model with improved hardware will cost more, but as there is currently only around $200/£200 between the iPad Air 5th gen and the 11in iPad Pro, there isn’t a lot of room for a new tier. If Apple does introduce a larger iPad Air it seems likely it would be priced around $100/£100 above the regular iPad Air. This would be similar to the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus, so maybe Apple is just offering size variants for customers rather than differently equipped ‘iPad Air Plus’ models.

What new features will we see in the iPad Air 6?

For a device whose release could be imminent, there’s not actually that many rumors or leaks out there. 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.

A new processor

The most obvious area where the iPad Air 6 will be superior to the current iPad Air 5 is in the processor that powers it. The iPad Air 5 already boasts a pretty nifty M1 chip, but the 11-inch iPad Pro has been sporting M2 silicon for over a year, with reports suggesting it will get an update to a new M3 chipset. This would allow Apple to raid its parts bin and move the M2 to the iPad Air 6, while retaining the newest silicon for its Pro platform.

Tech tipster Revegnus posted on X/Twitter that this could be the case.

iPad Air6, powered by M2— Revegnus (@Tech_Reve) March 14, 2023

New display technology

Another change Apple could be looking to bring to iPads is OLED displays. Rumors of OLED screens coming to the iPad lineup have popped up with regularity over the years. Apple is said to be in negotiations with LG, Samsung, and Chinese companies for active matrix OLEDs (AMOLEDs) that could be coming to the iPad Air and iPad mini.

While this would represent an excellent upgrade, it seems that the roadmap for this is 2025/2026, so there’s no chance that it will arrive in time for the iPad Air 6. Maybe the iPad Air 7?

However, there may be screen upgrades coming sooner than that. As mentioned above, in November 2023 analyst Ming Chi Kuo suggested that a new 12.9-inch iPad Air will feature a better screen with an Oxide backplane, as seen in the current mini-LED iPad Pros), “offering better display performance than the 10.9-inch iPad Air with an a-Si backplane.”

More storage

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 Air, which currently starts at a rather paltry 64GB. 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 that it could become the laptop replacement Apple has been marketing it as for a while now.

We will continue to monitor the latest news and rumors surrounding the iPad Air (6th Generation), 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.

iPad 

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