Back in October, we heard that Apple was looking to release two iPad Air 6 models in 2024. Alongside the familiar 10.9-inch model that’s been a staple of Apple’s release schedule since the fourth generation, we’ll apparently be treated to a super-size 12.9-inch model to match the iPad Pro.
Now 91mobiles has published what it claims to be raw CAD renders of the new larger model, provided by “industry sources.”
As you can see from the images dotted throughout this piece, there aren’t too many aesthetic changes incoming. If real, the upcoming iPad Air will match the industrial design of its predecessor with TouchID and the speaker grilles unmoved.
In fact, larger screen aside, the only really notable difference is with the camera array. The slightly protruding rectangular model is different to the flat version on the current model and somewhat reminiscent of Apple’s smartphone cameras in the iPhone XS.
By releasing two sizes of iPad Air, Apple’s strategy seems to be mimicking that of recent iPhones. In 2022, Apple killed off the iPhone mini and simplified its range: Both the Pro and regular iPhones come in 6.1 and 6.7-inch sizes, meaning you don’t have to pay for Pro features if you just want the big screen.
Currently, you have to pay at least $1,099 if you want a 12.9-inch tablet from Apple, because the iPad Pro is the only way to get that kind of screen space. Though we’d expect the 12.9-inch iPad Air to cost more than the $599 starting price of the current 10.9-inch version, it’s clearly going to be a lot cheaper than going Pro.
A big year for iPads
Apple didn’t release a single iPad in 2023, and the company looks set to make up for that this year with new models in every category.
Away from the iPad Air, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman has predicted big things for the 2024 iPad Pro, which he says will be the “first major update to the product since 2018.” It’s set to pack an OLED screen, the power of the M3 chip and a reimagined Magic Keyboard.
As for when you can expect the new models to land, the analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has had a go at predicting the schedule. According to him, the iPad Air will arrive in the first quarter of the year, followed by the iPad Pro, with mass production arriving in late Q1 or Q2.
The regular iPad and iPad mini won’t follow until the second half of the year, he writes, possibly suggesting that Apple sees them as more of a Christmas seller.