June 16, 2024

Archie Wertheim

Technology Integration and Foundations for Effective Leadership

Everything We Know So Far

9 min read
Everything We Know So Far

This guide was updated on April 24 at 2:10 to include new details on the iPad calculator app and April 19 at 8:44 a.m. ET to include new rumors from DSCC analyst Ross Young.

It’s finally happening. In just a few weeks time, we’ll likely be seeing our first sight of the long-rumored OLED iPad. Apple’s Let Loose event set for May 7 may finally introduce us to a whole new selection of iPad Pros and iPad Airs. If the hints and leaks are to be believed, it will all be centered around new screens and sizes for the next-gen tablets.

The rumor tornado that has circled the upcoming OLED iPad Pro has finally started to wane, leaving us with a whole field scattered with little nuggets of information relating to its size, color options, and a few juicy details surrounding the new look on its OLED screen. The new school iPad Pro and iPad Air are supposed to drop sometime this Spring, though we may need to wait until May for the full reveal. We still have a few months to get excited about Apple’s first real push into OLED outside its phones.

Apple didn’t release any 11th-gen iPads last year, which is noteworthy considering the Cupertino, California company has released one yearly for over a decade. The rumors make it clear that Apple thinks this latest refresh is a big one, and it could possibly reinvent the somewhat confusing SKU bloat that’s hindered the tech giant’s tablet line for years.

When Could Apple Release the OLED iPad Pro?

Most initial rumors suggested that Apple would showcase its new iPads in March. However, new details are coming out of Apple’s production line, and a report from Bloomberg says we’ll have to wait until sometime in May. Based on several anonymous sources, the report notes that the May release will be a big one centered around the new iPads. The Pro models will receive a brand new screen, while fans of the iPad Airs will have a new size category to play with at 12.9 inches.

The Cupertino company just released its new M3 MacBook Airs with a 13- or 15-inch screen in March, so this push to May isn’t so surprising as the company wants to spread out its releases and stay in the media spotlight for longer. The report notes that Apple needed to finish up the software for its upcoming tablets, hence the delay. In January, Bloomberg’s Apple guru Mark Gurman reported that Apple has wide-ranging designs. Nothing’s changed as far as what’s coming down the pike. According to Bloomberg, this first iPad refresh in 18 months will include four models: the J717, J718, J720, and J721.

As first reported by Apple Insider, quoting from market researchers at Display Supply Chain Consultants, there have been a few snags with manufacturing the latest tablets. Still, now that Apple has a little more breathing room, there hopefully won’t be any more delays.

May would also be a month before its biggest event of the year, WWDC 2024. That’s where most rumors suggest Apple will introduce far more AI enhancements to iOS 18. Much hasn’t been said about AI on iPadOS, but if it’s not there to start, it will only be a matter of time before Apple slaps some version of AI features on its tablets.

Moreover, there’ve been hints at additional iPad accessories that could also find their way onto the scene, along with the new Airs and Pros. People digging into the code for iOS 17.4 found mentions of an Apple Pencil 3 that connects with Apple’s Find My app. With a surprise release last year, the previous Apple Pencil featured a slide-out USB-C slot. That pencil version also lacked pressure sensitivity, so a new version with more sensitivity options could fit well with the new “Pro” lineup.

But wait, there’s more. MacRumors claimed, based on a source who works with Apple parts, that the next iPad could support MagSafe wireless charging. There hasn’t been word that the Cupertino company would make an all-new MagSafe peripheral for iPads, but we can’t help but imagine a charging unit that could double as a hands-free stand. Bloomberg had previously hinted at Apple trying to create a glass-backed iPad that would work with MagSafe.

The new iPad could also introduce an all-new keyboard. Gurman previously mentioned that Apple is trying to redesign the Magic Keyboard to work with the iPad. Rumors suggest the new keyboard will have a larger trackpad. Most importantly, Apple could switch to aluminum for the top portion of its keyboard, which would give it much more of a MacBook feel than ever before. The cover material would remain the same, but it would make the whole keyboard a lot sturdier for those who want to use their iPad as their main daily driver.

What Do We Know About the iPad Pro’s OLED? 

Image for article titled iPad Pro OLED: Everything We Know So Far

Photo: Caitlin McGarry / Gizmodo

Based on routine hints by industry analysts, it’s become well-known that Apple wants to make an 11.1-inch and a 13-inch iPad Pro with OLED. That’s compared to the most recent 12.9-inch mini-LED version (called Liquid Retina XDR) and 11-inch IPS LCD version that currently occupy the top end of Apple’s tablet line. Those rumors have been reconfirmed by the most recent word from

The new generation of iPads will be sized slightly differently from previous models. 9to5Mac reported, based on anonymous sources, that the new iPad Pros will be close to 1 mm less thick than the current 10th-gen. The existing 11-inch iPad Pro is 5.9 mm thick, but the new one could be 5.1 mm. The 12.9-inch version currency sits at 6.4 mm, but the new one could be a bare 5.0 mm.

To complement the new sizes, rumors also suggest we’ll see an updated MacBook Air that stretches the screen to 12.9 inches.

What’s Happening with iPadOS 18?

There could be some interesting changes in store for the next OS update to come along with the iPad refresh. For one, the next tablet operating system could drop support for several older-gen iPads. According to a rumor first reported by 9to5Mac, this includes the 2nd-gen 12.9-inch iPad Pro, the 10.5-inch iPad Pro, and the 6th-gen iPad. The rest of the tablets from 2019 and later should still have access to the new OS build.

If iOS 18‘s rumored AI enhancements prove true, it would only make sense to bring them to the iPad as well. This could potentially reinvent Siri and perhaps add several new AI-enhanced functions to Apple’s portable platforms.

Hell, the next version of iPadOS may finally rectify a feature that’s been missing since the advent of Apple’s tablet. MacRumors reported, based on an anonymous source, that the next OS could come stock with a tablet calculator app. It’s been notoriously missing for over a decade, and the rumored reason for this was tied to Steve Jobs disliking the way it was originally implemented on the early iPad prototypes.

At the tail end of last month, Apple released the new iPadOS update 17.4.1, which MacRumors confirmed didn’t offer any hints about iPadOS 18. At the very least, we can speculate that iPadOS 18 will come out at the same time as iOS 18, which will likely debut at WWDC 2024.

How Powerful Will the OLED iPad Pro Be?

We’ve known for a long while now that Apple wants to use its new M3 chip inside the iPad Pro. This was before we even had a chance to look at and analyze the power and capabilities of Apple’s latest M-series silicon, but since then, we’ve had the full chance to test out the capabilities of the 3nm M3 and its more powerful brethren, the M3 Pro and M3 Max.

Most configurations of the M3 for both the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro come with 8 CPU cores and either 8 or 10 GPU cores. These configurations either come with 8, 16, or 32 GB of RAM, though considering the iPad Pro goes to a maximum of 16 GB of integrated memory, you can expect the OLED version to be the same.

We’ve found the M3 chip to be pretty versatile at both productivity and graphical tasks. It’s marginally better than the M2 chip in all benchmarks, so it will certainly be an upgrade for those used to the M1 or M2 versions, even ignoring the new eye-catching display.

How Much Will the OLED iPad Pro Cost?

Image for article titled iPad Pro OLED: Everything We Know So Far

Photo: Caitlin McGarry / Gizmodo

OLED normally costs more than LCD, partly because of materials and partly because fewer factories and makers are available to manufacture the individual components. Based on industry sources, Korean tech rumor site The Elec (via MacRumors) claimed that Samsung is producing the first batch of the 11-inch OLED iPads but that LG is also working on the 13-inch versions.

The Elec also noted that industry analysts expect Apple to ship 8 million units this year. That’s less than what the industry thought the company would ship last year, though it may be based on expected demand more than anything. Apple did have a few issues last year with MacBook sales being down, leading the company to release the M3 MacBook Pros, not even a year after it finally started shipping the M2 version. This did help build hype around the M3 chip, the company’s most powerful APU released.

That said, the iPad Pro would only make sense to see a price increase. Trying to guess an exact price would be like tossing darts blindfolded, but the 13-inch iPad Pro currently starts at $1,099 but can go upwards of $2,000 if you want to opt for more storage options and cellular connectivity. We could guess that a new iPad Pro would cost at least $100 more than the current generation. The Elec has previously reported the next iPad could cost several hundred dollars more, even putting the price at $1,500 for the 11-inch and $1,800 for the 18-inch model, which seems to be a higher jump than seems practical.

Also, considering the Magic Keyboard’s current starting price of $300, a new aluminum material will likely increase the overall cost. The future iPad Pro will be a much more luxury product, which will also recast the Air as a more consumer-grade product overall.

The iPad Air Might Also Get an Upgrade

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Photo: Philip Tracy / Gizmodo

There may also be a surprise in store for those who don’t want to spend the extra cash on a full iPad Pro. According to supply chain analyst Ross Young from DSCC, who is renowned for his insider Apple speculations, the iPad Air will be upgraded to a mini-LED display. As reported by 9to5Mac, Young told his Twitter subscribers that the 12.9-inch iPad Air will get an upgraded screen to use leftover panels from the previous generation iPad Pro of the same size.

In Apple lingo, this would be the Liquid Retina XDR display, which is something that’s also used on today’s MacBook Pros. The Cupertino company’s specific blend of mini-LED benefits from less power consumption than the traditional IPS LCD screen. It also has better contrast and deeper blacks than those cheaper screens.

There’s no word what this might do to the price of the new 12.9-inch size, but it’s easy to imagine the smaller Air being the best introductory tablet option, while the bigger Air might be closer in price to today’s iPad Pro.

Want more of Gizmodo’s consumer electronics picks? Check out our guides to the best phones best laptops, best TVs, and best headphones. If you want to learn about the next big thing, see our guide to everything we know about the iPhone 16.

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