Apple’s tablet lineup is a busy one with plenty of options. Within that lineup, we have the iPad Air, currently in its fifth iteration. And it’s a pretty solid outing, too. But there’s always room for improvement.
That improvement is expected to come with the iPad Air 6, and while we don’t yet know exactly what the new tablet will have to offer once it debuts, there have been a few rumors of late. And then there are our calculated bets based on what we’ve come to expect from a new iPad in 2023. Or, more accurately, 2024 because Apple might make us wait into the new year for its next tablet.
Below is everything we know — or think that we know — about Apple’s replacement for the iPad Air 5 — the upcoming iPad Air 6. Let’s dive in.
Apple iPad Air 6: The headlines
- What is it? Apple’s next iPad Air tablet to sit between the iPad and iPad Pro lineups.
- When can we expect it? Some rumors claim an imminent launch, but 2024 now seems equally likely.
- Are there any surprises? Much of what we’d been hearing was expected, but a new report claims a 12.9-inch iPad Air could join the lineup but it isn’t clear if that’s in addition to the existing 10.9-inch model.
iPad Air 6: Release date rumors
This is an interesting one because the rumors have been all over the place of late. It was recently claimed that Apple would announce the updated tablet as soon as the week beginning October 16, 2023. But that ultimately didn’t happen. Whether that means the information was wrong or if something changed, we don’t know. We did see Apple announce a new $79 Apple Pencil, however.
At this point, it’s still possible that we will see the new iPad Air before the end of the year, but it isn’t guaranteed. In fact, the normally well-connected analyst Ming-Chi Kuo already said that there wouldn’t be any tablet announcements before the end of the year.`
More recently, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman says Apple is planning to release more minor iPad refreshes in March next year.
iPad Air 6: Features and specifications
The current iPad Air is powered by the M1 chip which means that it now lags behind the iPad Pro by a full generation. That’s likely to change when the next iPad Air refresh rolls around. If that happens relatively soon, we should expect the M2 chip to be used. If we run into 2024 and Macs with M3 chips start to arrive, there’s a possibility we will see that chip inside the next iPad Air.
Previous leaks have suggested that the iPad Air 6 would use the M2 chips, but we do know that Apple can change its plans and nothing is guaranteed until it’s announced.
Another huge potential change would be the addition of a new, larger display to the lineup. Recent reports claim that a 12.9-inch iPad Air is in development, but as mentioned previously, it isn’t yet clear whether that will replace the current 10.9-inch offering. There has never been a two-tier display iPad Air lineup with that being something exclusive to the iPad Pro. Does the iPad Air really need two different display sizes? We’re not convinced, but time will tell on that front.
iPad Air 6: What we want to see
The iPad Air has always been in a strange place, offering some of what the iPad Pro has and in a similar package. The 11-inch iPad Pro and 10.9-inch iPad Air are very similar with the latter holding the advantage in two key areas — the M2 chip, and a better display. But there are plenty of other areas where the new iPad Air could improve, too.
A new display
The next iPad Air is sure to get an M2 chip or better next time out, so our big wish is for an improvement to the display. A faster refresh rate would be welcome and ProMotion is the most obvious addition here. We’d also like to see Face ID move to the iPad Air lineup, too.
It could be argued that this would further close the gap between the iPad Air and iPad Pro. But with the iPad Pro expected to get new OLED displays and other improvements in 2024, that gap would once again be increased.
We’d also like to see Apple push the boat out in terms of storage, too. The fact the base model iPad Air comes with 64GB in 2023 is just not good enough, and we’d like that to start at double to 128GB. It’s just the right thing to do at this point.
Finally, we’d like a bigger battery. It’s never easy to do something like that and Apple is no doubt keen to make sure that a tablet called the iPad Air doesn’t get too big and heavy. But battery is so important in a device like this, especially when games are involved. The battery life in the current model isn’t bad. But it could always be improved.
iPad Air 6: Price
The current iPad Air 5 starts at $599 for that 64GB of storage but goes up from there when you add more. There’s the cellular 64GB modem for $749 as well.
We wouldn’t expect that price to change all that much the next time out, although there are yet to be any credible rumors either way. A lot might depend on Apple’s pricing strategy for the 2024 OLED iPad Pro refresh, too. If those tablets get more expensive due to their new displays, an increase in price might come to the mid-range iPad Air models as well — if only to make the iPad Pro seem less expensive by comparison.