Instead of significant new features and design changes, the new iPad Air, iPad mini and base iPad will bump specs by swapping Apple silicon for newer chips.
A new report from Supercharged, corroborated by 9to5Mac, says updates to the iPad Air, iPad mini and base iPad are arriving as soon as Tuesday, October 17.
No special event is expected because this alleged refresh is rumored to simply swap Apple’s custom chips for newer processors. Instead, the company should launch new iPads by updating its website and issuing press releases.
Are New iPad Air, iPad mini and base iPad imminent?
Supercharged says the iPad Air will receive Apple’s M2 chip versus its current M1 chip. The publication has also learned that the budget iPad would receive a faster chip, too, but provided no additional information.
As for the next iPad mini, Supercharged says that the device will swap the A15 Bionic chip for an A16 one. A recent report said Apple created a new display controller and changed the screen assembly direction on the seventh-generation iPad mini to mitigate the jelly scrolling issue in portrait mode that has plagued the current model.
What features did the latest iPad refreshes bring?
The current fifth-generation iPad Air was last refreshed in March 2022 with an Apple M1 chip, a 12-megapixel ultra-wide front camera with Center Stage and 5G connectivity. The entry-level iPad Air with 64 gigabytes of storage starts at $599.
The fifth-generation iPad mini received a far more substantial update in September 2021, getting an iPad Pro-like fullscreen design with a bigger 8.3-inch screen, USB-C charging and support for the second-generation Apple Pencil.
The 64GB iPad mini is priced at $499.
The tenth-generation iPad was released in October 2022 with a 10.9-inch display, flatter edges, no Home button, a 12-megapixel selfie camera with Center Stage, USB-C, better wireless capabilities and a Touch ID sensor in the power button.
The base 64GB iPad starts at $449. It’s Apple’s most affordable iPad.
More substantial changes to iPads in 2024
However, Mark Gurman noted in the latest edition of his Power On newsletter for Bloomberg that he didn’t believe these iPad updates were imminent.
He also said earlier that the biggest change to the iPad line would come sometime in 2024 when overhauled iPad Pros with OLED displays and redesigned Magic Keyboards are expected to arrive.
And if technology research firm Omdia is correct, Apple should release its first OLED-based iPad Air and iPad mini two years later in 2026.