The big-screen iPad Air we may or may not need is apparently close to launch

As we approach the end of a calendar year that’s been entirely bereft of iPad announcements, the eyes of Apple fans have turned to the product’s anticipated revamp in 2024. The latest word from the analyst circuit suggests at least one major new iPad is getting close to a state of launch-readiness.

The consensus among pundits is that, along with OLED screens for the iPad Pro and the discontinuation of the last Lightning iPad, Apple plans to launch a new size of iPad Air next year. This 12.9-inch model will bring the Air on par with the Pro range, bringing the benefits of laptop-standard display real estate to those who don’t need–and/or cannot afford–a Mac-class processor. (Whether customers actually want this is debatable. My own view is that Apple needs to offer fewer iPad options, not more.)

And production of this giant iPad Air seems to be well underway. Ross Young, an analyst who specializes in the displays industry and has an impressive track record of accurate predictions, tweeted Sunday that shipments of the display panels for the 12.9-inch Air began this month.

Of course, the panels being shipped is not the same as the actual tablets being shipped, though it is a major commitment and developmental milestone that offers a glimpse of the product’s progress. In any case, Apple rarely launches major products in December (barring the AirPods Max), January, or February. Our bet is that the giant Air will be unveiled at a spring 2024 event in either March or April.

Will customers still be willing to shell out for the iPad Pro once there’s a larger Air available at a lower price? That remains to be seen. But in the latest edition of his Power On newsletter, Bloomberg reporter Mark Gurman predicts that the larger Pro is going to get a bump to 13 inches in order to stay ahead of the chasing Air; similarly, the 11-inch Pro will remain slightly bigger than the 10.9-inch Air. In both cases, Apple will work to emphasize that the Pro does have more to offer if you’re willing to spend extra.

Aside from screen size, the Pro is headed for a major spec bump, according to Gurman, who writes that Apple “wants to reduce the confusion between the iPad Pro and the Air.” Hence, the iPad Pro is set to get an OLED screen, updated design, M3 chip, and revamped Magic Keyboard attachment. Reportedly, the Air will get an M2 chip along with the new larger-screen option.

So, whichever iPad you’re looking to get, all signs suggest 2024 will bring new and better options. And you hopefully won’t have to wait too much longer.

Source : Macworld