In early 2019, Apple announced the iPad Air 3 — four years after the iPad Air 2 was first released. The refresh took many by surprise and was purely an internal one that saw the iPad Air lineup getting a spec bump, a slightly bigger display, and that’s about it. Now, rumors about a major iPad Air refresh are circulating and there’s a strong possibility that Apple will announce it at its ‘Time Flies’ event next week. Before that though, here’s a quick roundup of what the rumors tell us about the iPad Air 4.
iPad Air to Adopt iPad Pro’s Design Language?
The last refresh of the iPad Air lineup did not bring any major changes to its design. For 2020, rumors point to Apple overhauling the iPad Air design language in a big way. Rumors and leaked photos indicate the upcoming tablet will switch to a design language that’s similar to the first-generation iPad Pro. Among other things, this will also include smaller bezels at the front and a slightly bigger display. To keep its price in check, the upcoming iPad Air is not expected to come with a ProMotion display which Apple is likely going to be inclined to keep exclusive to its iPad Pro lineup. Leaked renders also indicate that the iPad Air (2020) is going to feature stereo speakers and not quad speakers as seen on the iPad Pro — another cost-cutting move from Apple and to create a better differentiation between the two product lineups.
Bigger Display and Face ID
The switch to a design language similar to the iPad Pro means smaller bezels at the front which in turn means a bigger display. While there’s no clarity on the display size, rumors peg the upcoming iPad Air could come with a 10.8-inch display — a slight bump from the 10.5-inch that’s found on the existing iPad Air models. As a side effect of reducing the bezels, Apple will also have to get rid of the physical home button/Touch ID sensor which means the iPad Air 4 could come with Face ID. However, there are conflicting reports on this front and there’s a possibility that Apple ends up integrating Touch ID into the power button.
USB-C Connectivity and Magic Keyboard Support
If rumors are anything to go by, Apple is also going to switch to USB-C and ditch the lighting connector on the upcoming iPad Air. This would mean that apart from the iPad Pro lineup, the iPad Air will be the only other tablet in Apple’s lineup to feature USB-C. The iPad Air 4 is also rumored to feature a Smart Connector at its rear and it is allegedly going to be compatible with Apple’s Magic Keyboard with Touchpad as well. These two changes could open up support for a world of accessories and use cases for the upcoming iPad Air.
There are no leaks in this front but it goes without saying that the upcoming iPad Air refresh is going to come with a faster A-series chip. The existing iPad Air 3 features an A12 Bionic processor and it is likely that the upcoming refresh will see Apple switch to its faster and more efficient A13 Bionic chip. That should bring about a notable boost in performance which should be further helped by a bump in RAM from 3GB to 4GB.
Apple has been bumping the base storage across all its products since last year and the company could do something similar with the upcoming iPad Air refresh as well. This means the base iPad Air (2020) variant could come with 128GB of storage, with Apple also offering a 256GB storage option.
Unlike the 2020 iPad Air, the upcoming iPad Air refresh will continue to come with a single rear camera at the rear. It will also miss out on a LiDAR scanner as found on the former. These are among the very compromises that Apple is making to ensure the iPad Air is a few hundred dollars cheaper than its iPad Pro lineup.
It is clear that the upcoming iPad Air refresh is going to be a major one and unsurprisingly, it also means that Apple will be bumping its price a bit. Rumors suggest the iPad Air 4 could be priced at $599 making it $100 more expensive than the existing iPad Air.
There are not many rumors surrounding a refresh of the seventh-generation iPad but we could see Apple refresh its cheapest iPad at the event as well. Like the last couple of updates, this one too is likely going to be an internal spec bump that will see Apple switch to a faster A11 or A12 chip for improved performance. Other aspects of the tablet are not expected to change in any way.
What are your expectations from Apple’s ‘Time Flies’ event and the upcoming iPad Air refresh? Will you buy it over the iPad Pro if it offered nearly the same set of features at a lower price tag?