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Apple’s 2024 iPad Air Lineup: What to Expect

In 2023, Apple didn’t make any updates to the iPad lineup, and it’s been even longer since the iPad Air was refreshed. Apple last unveiled a new ‌iPad Air‌ in March 2022, so we’re at the two-year mark and it’s overdue for an update. Luckily, rumors suggest that we’re going to get new iPads as soon as March, and there are exciting changes in store for the Air lineup.

In this guide, we’ve rounded up all of the rumors about the new ‌iPad Air‌ models so far.

Size and Design

Apple is planning for another 10.9-inch ‌iPad Air‌ that’s similar in design to the current version, but for the first time, we’re expecting two ‌iPad Air‌ models rather than one. As with the iPad Pro lineup, Apple will release the ‌iPad Air‌ in two sizes.

The standard 10.9-inch model will be the smaller size, and at the larger end, Apple is working on a 12.9-inch version. At 12.9 inches, the larger ‌iPad Air‌ will be the same size as the current 12.9-inch ‌iPad Pro‌.

There aren’t rumors of design changes, so we can expect both models to have the same edge-to-edge display with slim bezels and an aluminum chassis with flat, rounded edges that wrap around the screen. The ‌iPad Air‌ has always been a bit thicker than the ‌iPad Pro‌ with thicker bezels, and that’s going to continue.

Rumors suggest that the upcoming ‌iPad Pro‌ models that will also be refreshed in March will have thinner frames due to the swap over to OLED display technology. With OLED, the new larger-screened ‌iPad Pro‌ will be over 1mm thinner, while the 11-inch model will be almost 1mm thinner.

The changes to ‌iPad Pro‌ thickness should be quite noticeable and the design will distinguish the ‌iPad Pro‌ from the ‌iPad Air‌, even though Apple will have two iPads that are roughly the same size.

We’ve also seen leaked renders of the 12.9-inch ‌iPad Air‌, which suggest that the new models could have a redesigned rear camera with a protruding pill-shaped camera bump similar to the design that we’re expecting for the iPhone 16 camera.

Based on rumors, we won’t see design changes, but Apple will likely introduce new color options. The ‌iPad Air‌ comes in a range of pastel colors right now, and Apple could introduce a selection of new shades.

M3 Chip

Since the M1 chip came out, Apple has used M-series chips in the ‌iPad Air‌ and ‌iPad Pro‌ models. This time around, we’re expecting Apple to bring either the M2 chip or the M3 chip to the ‌iPad Air‌.

The ‌M2‌ chip is the prior-generation M-series chip that first came out in 2022, and it’s almost two years old. The argument for the ‌M2‌ is that it would give Apple a way to further distinguish the ‌iPad Air‌ from the ‌iPad Pro‌, plus it would keep costs down. The 3-nanometer M3 chips are more expensive to produce than the ‌M2‌.

If Apple opts for the ‌M2‌, it will bring speed and power efficiency improvements, but it would be a much smaller bump than the M3 chip. It is not entirely clear which chip Apple will use.

The M3 chip came out last year, and it’s the first chip built using next-generation 3-nanometer architecture. It has an 8-core CPU and 10-core GPU, and it supports hardware-accelerated ray tracing and mesh shading for games with better graphics.

Apple’s M3 Macs are able to play console-level games like Death Stranding and Resident Evil, so we can expect the same technology for the ‌iPad Air‌ if it ends up with the M3 chip.

The M3 offers 2.5x better GPU speeds than the ‌M1‌ in the ‌iPad Air‌ with half the power. As for the CPU, the M3 is up to 30 percent faster than the ‌M1‌ performance cores and up to 50 percent faster than the ‌M1‌ efficiency cores.

Bluetooth and Wi-Fi

Since the current ‌iPad Air‌ is two years old, it’s lacking some of the general technology improvements that Apple has brought to other devices.

Apple has been updating its products with Bluetooth 5.3, so we can expect that to come to the ‌iPad Air‌. Bluetooth 5.3 brings more reliable connectivity with Bluetooth accessories as well as better power efficiency for longer battery life.

Wi-Fi 6E is also expected, and it will let ‌iPad Air‌ models connect to faster 6GHz Wi-Fi networks.

iPad Air vs. iPad Pro

Display technology will be one of the main distinguishing factors between the ‌iPad Air‌ and the ‌iPad Pro‌. While the ‌iPad Pro‌ models will have an OLED display, the ‌iPad Air‌ models will continue to use more affordable LCD display technology.

Apple doesn’t use Face ID on the ‌iPad Air‌ and instead the current model has a Touch ID power button, which Apple may maintain in order to keep the premium ‌Face ID‌ feature exclusive to the ‌iPad Pro‌.

We’re not expecting major differences in performance as both models rumored to use the M3 chip, but the ‌iPad Pro‌ may have more memory for the OLED display. Rear camera technology will also be a differentiator because the ‌iPad Pro‌ has a dual camera setup with Wide and Ultra Wide lenses, while the ‌iPad Air‌ has just a single-lens Wide camera.

Pricing

The current 11-inch ‌iPad Air‌ is priced starting at $599, and the new model is likely to have the same starting price.

As for the 12.9-inch version, it would make the most sense to price it at $200 over the 11-inch model, so it could start at $799. Prior to when the 12.9-inch ‌iPad Pro‌ was updated with mini-LED, there was a $200 price difference between the two sizes.

Apple’s aim with the ‌iPad Air‌ is to offer customers more options at a wider range of price points. For around the price of the 11-inch ‌iPad Pro‌, customers will instead be able to opt for a larger 12.9-inch ‌iPad Air‌.

Release Date

Bloomberg‘s Mark Gurman has said multiple times that new ‌iPad‌ models will come in the March/April timeframe, and the latest news suggests a release toward the end of March.

Apple sometimes holds a spring event right around March, so we could be hearing news about a possible event in the next week or two.

Related Roundup: iPad Air
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This article, “Apple’s 2024 iPad Air Lineup: What to Expect” first appeared on MacRumors.com

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