Apple is reportedly readying new iPads and MacBook Air models equipped with the recently revealed Apple M3 chip for a spring launch next year.
That’s according to Bloomberg chief correspondent and persistent and accurate Apple tipster, Mark Gurman, who claimed such a launch will come as a move to revitalize iPad sales that have recently slumped. Reportedly thrown into the mix will be a new iPad Air with a 12.9-inch display, alongside revamped Magic Keyboard models and a new Apple Pencil.
NEW: Apple plans spring launch for revamped iPad Pro, new iPad Air (including in 12.9-inch size), revamped Magic Keyboard and Apple Pencil and M3 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Airs. https://t.co/zVvMGmKSubDecember 6, 2023
A spring launch for such a device would make sense. The iPad Air hasn’t been given the M2 chip treatment yet, so skipping a generation and loading the tablet with an M3 chip is rather logical. While both 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models have access to the M2 chip, it would seem sensible to boost them to M3 silicon to ensure the most powerful iPads remain so.
But the more interesting element of the next-generation iPad Pros is that they are tipped to get OLED displays, with the 12.9-inch models seeing a minor screen size boost to a full 13 inches. Rumors around this have been circulating for a while, but the jury was out on when we could see iPads with OLED panels.
However, Gurman noted that according to people with knowledge of Apple unreleased products and its release pipeline, these OLED iPads are also set for a spring 2024 release. This could be one of the bigger upgrades the iPad Pros have seen in some time – while the 12.9-inch iPad Pro’s mini-LED display is by no means bad, a move to OLED could lead to better contrast and colors, likely great for professional photo editors and artists.
As for the new Magic Keyboards, Gurman noted they are expected to have a sturdier frame made of aluminum and will make the iPad Pro look more laptop-like. Unfortunately, Gurman did not detail what to expect from a new Apple Pencil.
iPads could get ever closer to MacBooks
If these rumors come to fruition, the boost in power combined with what could be improved Magic Keyboards with some nips and tucks to make the cover-accessory more user-friendly and flexible may add up to iPads that could truly replace one’s laptop for all by the most niche of tasks. With Apple managing to get true console-quality games running on the iPhone 15 Pro, I’d be excited to see what it could do for gaming on iPads with access to M3 power.
A larger iPad Air also ticks all the boxes in terms of a logical release. There are almost certainly some people who would like an iPad with a larger display for, say, digital artwork, but also don’t need the advanced features of a 12.9-inch iPad Pro. So an iPad Air with a 12.9-inch display seems like a happy medium, providing Apple ensures it’s reasonably priced.
On the MacBook Air side, a move to M3 chips would also make sense. Come next spring the original MacBook Air M2 will be nearly two years old – that’s hardly old in laptop lifespan terms, but it does make the machine ripe for a chip refresh. The 15-inch MacBook Air came out this year, but again, come 2024 it wouldn’t hurt for it to have an M3 chip to tap into for improved performance and efficiency. These upgrades could be aimed squarely at people looking to upgrade from older M1-based MacBooks who may not have been convinced by the uptick in performance that moving to M2-based equivalents would yield.
While a spring launch might sound vague, Gurman noted that the iPads and their accessories are likely to launch in March. The boosted MacBook Air models could also arrive around March. This would also make sense as Apple has previously revealed new devices around that time of the year, but as ever time will tell.