Since Apple doesn't refresh all of its products at the same time, some of them end up getting left behind. It happened with the 13-inch MacBook Pro, which kept the dreadful Butterfly keyboard for another six months after the 16-inch MacBook Pro was refreshed with the Magic Keyboard. And it's also happening to the iPad Air.
The latest iPad Air was released in March of last year, more than a year ago. Since then, Apple has updated the iPad and iPad Pro, adding features not found on the iPad Air. It now seems like the Air will get its past-due refresh, and gain two of the best new features from the much pricier iPad Pro.
- Best tablets in 2020
- Which iPad should you buy?
- Microsoft Surface Go 2 vs. Apple iPad: Which sub-$400 tablet Is best?
Chinese site MyDrivers, citing insider sources in Apple's manufacturing chain, claims the next-gen iPad Air will have a larger screen and a USB-C port will replace the Lightning connector.
The current-gen iPad Air has a 10.5-inch display (the same size as the Surface Go 2) while the next-gen model is rumored to have an 11-inch panel. That would bump the screen up to match the smaller version of the iPad Pro. It might not sound like a huge difference but an extra 0.5 inches is significant when you compare them side-by-side.
Citing "Japense media," MyDrivers says Apple will use the 11-inch iPad Pro mold to craft the iPad Air. We hope this means the iPad Air will have slimmer bezels, and, therefore, a smaller footprint. We also wouldn't mind if Apple ditches the physical home button to achieve that goal.
We wouldn't be surprised if Apple turned to USB-C on the iPad Air as it did with the iPad Pro. The charging standard is widely preferred over the Lightning cable for its faster transfer speeds and wider interoperability.
Next-gen iPad mini
The iPad mini will apparently not receive the same treatment and will stick with the aging Lightning port instead.
The mini will remain mini although the screen will increase in size from 7.9 inches to 8.5 inches, according to the report. It will also be fueled by the A13 Bionic chips found in the iPhone, which will keep its price higher than the iPad's.
There is no word yet on when the iPad Air and iPad mini will be released or how much they will cost. We'll be tracking all the leaks and rumors that come through to give you the most complete picture of these tablets before Apple's official announcement.