Anonymous sources report multiple iPads are on the way, though not much is known beyond what was already rumored except a new mention of four iPad Air models.
It seems 2023 may be the first year we’ve ever seen without an iPad update. The tablet lineup reached equilibrium in edge-to-edge design and USB-C in fall 2022, but nothing has been released since.
According to a source speaking to 9to5Mac there’s still some chance of an iPad launch in the coming months. The source corroborates several rumors like a spec bumped iPad mini 7 and 10.9-inch iPad arriving at any point in late 2023 to early 2024.
However, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has said not to expect any new iPads in 2023. While he’s not 100% accurate, his view of the supply chain provides reliable insight into release windows, and he hasn’t changed his stance on this yet.
Four iPad Airs
The key portion of this iPad-focused rumor report is the section on the iPad Air. The anonymous source states that Apple is working on two distinct iPad Air models, two each with Wi-Fi and cellular options.
The standard iPad Air 6 is what we’d expect — an identical design with a chip bump. This model is codenamed J507 and J508 for the Wi-Fi and cellular versions.
Two additional models are being worked on with the code names J537 and J538. Nothing is known about these models, and the source doesn’t seem to provide any detail. The report on Thursday assumes that they are based on the iPad Air.
The report suggests that two iPad Air series could indicate a large and small model, similar to how iPad Pro operates today. They also suggest the additional model could never see the light of day and only exists in testing.
Deciphering rumored iPad Air clues
We’ve talked about Apple and its pricing structures before.
In brief, the company generally offers a series of products with overlapping features at close-knit price ranges. This gives customers more choice and tends to push customers to the next rung of the price ladder if there’s a feature they’re aiming for.
The iPad lineup already has a strong pricing ladder, however, there is an appreciable gap. The 10.9-inch iPad, 11-inch iPad Air, and 11-inch iPad Pro run the gamut from $449 to $799, however, there’s only one option for the 12.9-inch iPad starting at $1,099.
Some rumors suggest the M3 iPad Pro could offer a new, larger display size between 13 inches and 14 inches, leaving the 12.9-inch size behind. However, that may not be the end of the 12.9-inch size class, if the two iPad Air models in development rumor is accurate.
ProMotion and Thunderbolt may not be necessary for all users, like artists who may be seeking a larger drawing tablet. That’s why a larger iPad Air model is viable, but it’s not necessarily guaranteed.
There’s reason to be skeptical about this rumor, given the overlap between iPad models postulated in a lineup already over-stuffed at price points and sizes. There’s no way for us to confirm the provenance of the rumor, and the source could be the same one that shared the very inaccurate M3 MacBook Air release schedule with it said to arrive six months ago in April 2023 — so take all of this with some salt.