Apple could overhaul its tablet lineup in 2024, delivering the first 12.9-inch iPad Air and upgrading iPad Pro models to OLED displays and the company’s fast new M3 chip.
The upgrades could help boost iPad shipments to between 52 million and 54 million units in 2024, up from about 50 million in 2023.
12.9-inch iPad Air incoming
iPad shipments fell in recent quarters, due to a lack of new models and a bit of a pandemic hangover. Apple sold a ton of tablets when COVID-19 lockdowns fueled a work-from-home revolution. And since those tablets still work just fine, people aren’t rushing to replace them. Revamping the iPad lineup could turn things around for the world’s most popular tablet line.
Now, highly regarded TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicts Apple will announce a 12.9-inch iPad Air in Q1 2024. While the tablet won’t pack a mini-LED display, the screen could feature an oxide backplane for better performance and efficiency. An upgraded 10.9-inch iPad Air and the new 12.9-inch model reportedly will enter mass production in Q1 2024. These tablets could debut in March or April, when Apple typically announces new products.
This is not the first time rumors of a 12.9-inch iPad Air have popped up. The device could sit between the 10.9-inch iPad Air and the 11-inch iPad Pro, which is also in line to get a big upgrade in 2024.
Apple is working on OLED iPad Pros featuring an M3 chip and refreshed design to replace its existing lineup. These tablets apparently will use the same LTPO backplanes as the iPhone 15 Pro series to deliver better display performance and lower power consumption than the current 12.9-inch iPad Pro’s mini-LED panel.
The company initially targeted an early Q1 2024 mass production schedule for the new iPad Pros. But that reportedly has been pushed back to late Q1 or Q2 due to production problems with the OLED panels. While the new display could offer better performance, it will drive up the price of the pro iPads. Due to this, Kuo expects Apple to ship between 6 million and 8 million OLED iPad Pro units in 2024.
Budget iPads to launch in H2 2024
In the second half of 2024, Kuo thinks Apple will update its budget-focused iPad lineup, featuring a new iPad mini and the 11th-gen iPad.
The analyst also predicts Apple will discontinue the iPad 9 before the end of 2024. Given the entry-level tablet’s dated internals, and its use of a Lightning port, this wouldn’t be surprising. The move could see Apple reduce the price of the iPad 10 to fill the vacuum left by the iPad 9’s discontinuation.