Apple has been relatively silent since announcing the iPhone 15 series and new Apple Watches in September. However, there are rumors that new iPads could be announced soon. In fact, they could be announced by Apple as early as tomorrow, October 17.
As the announcement will almost certainly be made through an online press release, not a full-blown press event, you might think these updates won’t be significant. Still, this news could not have come at a better time for those planning to buy an iPad, as the holiday buying season is starting to ramp up.
Before you get too excited, be aware that even if the announcements are made soon, the new tablets may not be released this month.
According to weekend reports from Supercharged and 9to5Mac, Apple plans to unveil updated versions of the iPad mini, iPad Air, and entry-level iPad this week. Apple expert Mark Gurman from Bloomberg also predicts the announcement of new tablets in the near future. However, Gurman stated on X (formerly Twitter) that he does not believe any significant updates will happen soon. On Bloomberg, he went further and said that new iPads are not expected to be released this month.
I’d like to believe everyone above is correct, and new iPads are about to be announced, but perhaps not released until November or December at the latest. All three would-be iPad updates could prove exciting, even if Apple doesn’t feel they warrant a press event.
iPad mini 7
Apple has released six iPad mini models over the years, which is hard to believe. Despite often matching the current iPad Air’s internals, Apple has shown little love for the smaller tablet. However, just when you think the device might be forgotten, Apple releases a new model that it heavily promotes, at least for a few weeks.
The current version of the iPad mini was announced over two years ago alongside the ninth-generation iPad and iPhone 13 series. With its 8.3-inch display, the tablet was similar to the fourth-generation iPad Air, which was announced a year earlier and then discontinued with the launch of the fifth-generation iPad Air in March 2022.
The sixth-generation iPad mini is equipped with the A15 Bionic chip. Despite being an older model, the iPad mini still boasts a more powerful chip than the 10th-generation iPad, which was released a year later with the A14 Bionic chip. The iPad mini typically has better internals than the budget iPad. And despite its smaller display, it has higher price points.
In comparison, the iPad Air features the M1 chip, while the M2 chip powers the latest iPad Pro models.
Rumors suggest a seventh-generation iPad mini will feature an A16 Bionic chip, a slight improvement over the A15 Bionic chip. It could also include a new display controller to remove the jelly scrolling issue that has affected some iPad mini 6 users.
iPad Air 6
Information about the upcoming sixth iPad Air and 11th iPad is scarce. However, the former will likely feature the M2 chip since the current model contains the M1. We can also take cues from the 11-inch iPad Pro (4th generation) to get an idea of what features the next iPad Air will (and won’t) have.
The updated features of the new iPad Air may include ProMotion 120Hz technology for the display and a 10-core GPU that is powered by the M2 chip. There is also a possibility of a USB-C connector with Thunderbolt/USB 4 support and an upgrade to Wi-Fi 6 with speeds up to 2.4 Gbps.
Apple will likely continue to differentiate the iPad Air from the iPad Pro regarding the camera system and authentication. For instance, the less expensive iPad Air is unlikely to have an ultrawide camera or offer Face ID. Storage beyond 256GB is probably also out of reach.
Apple has a history of introducing new and innovative colors for the iPad Air. It may continue this trend with the next iPad Air release. The previous two generations of iPad Air were offered in five colors, so figure another five are incoming.
Finally, let’s talk about the upcoming next-generation iPad. The current model was last updated a year ago and features an A14 Bionic chip. The newest version is expected to have minor updates, including the A15 Bionic chip. Like its predecessor, the 11th-generation iPad should still feature a 10.9-inch Liquid Retina display and Touch ID integrated into the top button.
If Apple follows past practice, the arrival of the 11th generation iPad should mean the iPad (10th generation) will stick around at a lower price. Currently, the iPad (9th generation) starts at $329, while the iPad (10th generation) starts at $429.
What about the iPad Pro?
If you usually purchase iPad Pro models, you may have to wait another year for the latest updates. According to rumors, however, this wait will be worth it.
Reportedly, the upcoming iPad Pro lineup, which is expected to launch sometime next year, will have OLED screens for the first time and will be powered by the new M3 chip. The largest iPad Pro may also have a slightly bigger display of 13 inches, up from the current 12.9 inches. Both models may also feature new glass bodies.
The 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pros were updated a year ago.
Although I have not personally used an iPad mini, I know many friends who have been eagerly waiting for a new model to be released. Among the three tablets expected to be announced this week, I believe the iPad mini 7 will receive the most attention.
The regular iPad will also be in the spotlight, especially for the general public. During the holiday shopping season, Apple will likely offer the biggest discounts on the regular iPad, even if it’s only $25 to $50 off.
The iPad Air, which provides a good balance between the regular iPad and the more expensive iPad Pro, will also have its backers. Since there isn’t a Product Red iPhone this year, perhaps that color will appear on the new iPad Air. Wouldn’t a red iPad look nice? Indeed, it would.
We should know soon enough. If Apple makes a tablet announcement this week, it should come in just a few hours. Stay tuned.
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