This year, we’re not expecting any hardware updates to the iPad lineup for the first time; however, reputable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes that Apple will make up for the lack of updates with even bigger updates across every model in the lineup. And by bigger, I mean an all-new larger 12.9-inch model of the iPad Air.
Kuo expects the iPad Air to be updated with more modern specs for the existing 10.9-inch and the upcoming 12.9-inch model. Unlike the existing 12.9-inch iPad Pro, we don’t expect the 12.9-inch Air to feature the Liquid Retina XDR (mini-LED) display; however, the display technology will still improve by moving from the current a-Si backplane found in the 10.9-inch Air to the same oxide backplane the current iPad Pro uses. The next generation Air is expected to feature the M2 chip.
Just like Apple offers two screen sizes for both the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro, an additional larger model for the iPad Air would make sense, especially to fill in the anticipated large price gap between the Air and the upcoming more expensive iPad Pro models that are expected to feature OLED displays, the M3 chip, and an all new design. Those models are expected to come in larger screen sizes than the current models at 11- and 13-inch.
Finally, for Apple’s lowest-end models, we can see the long-awaited update to the iPad mini later next year, which hasn’t seen an update for over two years, as well as the 11th generation base iPad. We can expect both of those models to feature more modern chips such as the A16 Bionic chip on the next generation mini; however, Kuo expects the existing 9th generation iPad to finally be discontinued, which is the last model to feature the Lightning port and a headphone jack, making USB-C standard across every iPad model.