Apple has an iPad shocker planned for early 2024

12.9-inch iPad Pro with Magic Keyboard.
Digital Trends

The promised one is barely a few months away. We’ve been hearing rumors of an OLED iPad Pro for the past few years, but early in 2024, Apple will give finally its premium tablet the screen upgrade we’ve all been waiting anxiously for.

According to Bloomberg, the iPad Pro 2024 will offer an OLED screen and the natural silicon upgrade to the M3 generation. Currently under development under the code names J717, J718, J720, and J721, these new iPads will have 13-inch or 11-inch form factors.

Plenty of iPad Pro upgrades

The back of the iPad Pro (2022) in Space Gray.
Joe Maring / Digital Trends

We are not sure whether a design overhaul is in tow, but a previous Bloomberg report mentioned that the 2024 iPad Pro lineup will be “the first major update to the product since 2018.” There has been some chatter about a glass back that allows wireless charging, but nothing concrete has emerged so far.

Aside from the display and silicon upgrades, Apple is reportedly redesigning the Magic Keyboard. Instead of the matte rubberized finish, Apple is reportedly going to use aluminum on the keyboard to make it feel more like a MacBook. Whether it will get niceties such as a dedicated escape key remains to be seen.

Apple also has a new stylus ready to go with its next-gen tablets. Once again, details about its design and features are slim, but it will be a top-end successor to the Apple Pencil 2, which means you can safely expect magnetic charging, high-pressure sensitivity, and improved latency figures, among other potential areas of improvement.

Oh, wait, an iPad Air surprise?

iPad Air 5 back in hand.
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

The iPad Pro upgrades definitely sound like a welcome bundle of year-over-year tweaks, but an iPad Air surprise is also right around the corner. Bloomberg’s latest report mentions a new 12.9-inch size for the next-generation Air tablet.

So far, Apple has only offered the iPad Air in a single 10.9-inch variant that’s close to the 11-inch iPad Pro model. However, it appears that the company wants to serve more choices to tablet shoppers. That’s both good and bad news.

On one hand, the iPad Air has made the jump to desktop-class M-series processors without commanding the same premium asking price as the Pro models. But an 11-inch screen is not always the best choice for creatives, especially when it comes to tasks like video editing and sketching.

For an audience that needs a combination of a large screen and a fast processor without a high asking price, a 12.9-inch iPad Air sounds like a match made in heaven.

On the other hand, splurging on a 12.9-inch iPad Air won’t make a whole lot of sense since Apple is already locking a whole bunch of features to the Pro models. Take, for example, apps like Final Cut Pro and Logic Pro, which won’t stray away from the Pro variants.

Ports of AAA gaming titles (such as Resident Evil) are also limited to Pro models with an M-series processor.

Using the Apple iPad Air 5.
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

Then there’s the possibility of a silicon bifurcation tactic. Apple now follows a two-tier strategy of A-series processors for iPhones. The A17 Pro inside the iPhone 15 Pro gets a 6-core GPU, while the iPhone 15’s A16 has a 5-core GPU. It won’t be surprising to see Apple follow a similar approach or simply keep memory distinct between the Pro and Air models.

Either way, it’s only going to create more confusion for buyers rather than simply offering them a more diverse tablet portfolio to pick from. But hey, it’s Apple, after all, and it can surely think of a few ways to charm shoppers into picking up the 12.9-inch iPad Air.

Let’s just hope Apple keeps the accessory situation coherent, especially for the Magic Keyboard.

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