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New iPad Air Reportedly in Works With Specs Upgrade

The new iPad Air is under development. Here’s all you need to know.

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Apple iPad Air 5

There is news that the 6th-generation iPad Air is under development, but it is uncertain whether it will be launched this year or not. According to Bloomberg leaker-analyst Mark Gurman’s Power On newsletter, the next iPad Air is currently being developed and will receive an upgrade in specifications, but there is no information on its release date.

According to Gurman, the iPad usually gets updated in October, but significant changes may not happen until next year when the M3 iPad Pros with OLED screens are released. However, there is an iPad Air model in development that will improve its specifications.

“For those wondering about the iPad—another product that typically gets refreshed in October—I wouldn’t expect any major upgrades until the M3 iPad Pros with OLED screens arrive next year. But an iPad Air model that boosts its specifications is also in development.” Gurman wrote. 

We are seeking clarity on whether Mark Gurman’s statement about the iPad launch means that a new iPad Air with just a specification update will be released in the fall of 2023, or if the statement only confirms that an Air model is under development along with the new Pro models without revealing a launch date. 

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The expected launch date of the sixth generation Air seems odd, given that it is not until 2024. The fifth generation Air was released back in March 2022 and has been reviewed positively, but it has been a long wait of 16 months already. The launch event in October will mark 19 months since the release of the fifth generation and by year end it will be 21 months. It seems unnecessary for the sixth generation to be delayed given purportedly minor updates such as a new chip and Wi-Fi 6E, as indicated by Gurman.

The gap between the fourth and fifth Airs was too long for just a simple refresh – it was 17 months. During that time, Apple launched updated versions of the standard iPad, iPad mini, and iPad Pro which, in various ways, outperformed the Air and made it less attractive. We’ve talked before about the issues that Apple’s uneven iPad release schedule causes, so it would be unwise for them to wait two years before refreshing the Air.

The iPad Pro was updated in October 2022, which was just nine months ago. It is reasonable to expect that an update will come in 2024. However, when this happens, it will likely overshadow the 6th-generation iPad Air. This is typical of Apple’s approach.

Apple iPad Air 5 with iPadOS 15

iPad Air Expected Specs

The current iPad Air has a display with a refresh rate of 60Hz, which some people find slow for 2023. While it’s unlikely that the Air will get the same 120Hz mini-LED screen as the 12.9-inch iPad Pro 2022, we would like to see a refresh rate upgrade to 90Hz. There have been rumors about iPads with OLED displays, but we don’t anticipate them until 2024 at the earliest. If Apple decides not to use mini-LED panels, we think that it will initially target the OLED display on the iPad Pros.

The iPad Air 6 could benefit from an increase in display brightness, but the current model’s panel already offers strong colors and contrast, leaving little room for improvement from LCDs. The Apple M2 chip will probably be the main, if not the only, upgrade for the iPad Air 6th generation. This upgrade would be straightforward as it is a step up from the M1 chip in the existing model and would be desirable since it offers impressive performance, as demonstrated by its capability in gaming, even in non-optimized titles on the MacBook Air M2.

Moving to the M2 chip is expected to improve both the speed and efficiency of devices. It is anticipated that the upcoming iPad Air model will surpass the current one’s battery life of 10 hours and 9 minutes, based on Tom’s Guide’s battery test that involves web browsing via Wi-Fi at a screen brightness of 150 nits.

The rumor mill suggests that the iPad Air 6 may not include an M3 chip, but it is possible. However, the move to M3 is more likely for iPads in 2024. No other possible upgrades have been mentioned. The camera will probably have 12MP front and rear sensors, with some potential software enhancements for better image quality and low-light performance. Apple’s Center Stage feature could see slight improvements, but major changes are not expected. We would totally appreciate it if the iPad Pros had a quad-speaker array for a better sonic experience, but we understand that this is probably unlikely.

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