New iPadOS version might finally usher in 2024 iPad Pro and Air [Updated]


2024 OLED iPad Pro mockup
Apple expects the larger 2024 iPad Pro model to be the more popular.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Apple reportedly released a tiny, tiny update to iOS and iPadOS on Wednesday. It’s possible this is the new version of the operating system supposedly needed for the much rumored — and much anticipated — 2024 iPad Pro and iPad Air models.

Don’t go looking for the updates on your iPhone or iPad, however.

Update: The latest leak indicates that Apple’s next tablets won’t reach customers until May. They allegedly aren’t just waiting on software; production challenges are also supposedly pushing back the launch.

iOS and iPadOS 14.4.1 again

iOS 14.4.1 and iPadOS 14.4.1 came out on March 21 with a handful of bug fixes. These have supposedly been replaced … sort of.

The original releases both had build number 21E236. But build 21E237 for each debuted on March 27. There’s no mention of them on Apple’s list of current OS versions for developers, though. And they aren’t available as over-the-air updates. However, they can be installed by connecting an iPhone or iPad to a Mac or PC.

Update could be what 2024 iPad Pro and Air are waiting for

Numerous leaks point to the imminent release of the 2024 iPad Pro and iPad Air. But a noted tipster said recently that the Pro models are waiting on an OS update.

New software for the iPad Pro — a variant of iPadOS 17.4 designed for the updated models — won’t be complete until the end of March or even sometime in April,” Bloomberg‘s Mark Gurman said last week.

It’s quite possible that build 21E237 is the new iPadOS version that’s been holding up the launch of the tablet(s). If so, then the software can now be sent to Asia to be preinstalled on the 2024 iPad Pro, allowing the computers to be shipped around the world.

And the official announcement could be as early as Monday, April 1.

What to expect from two new Apple tablets

Many leaks indicate that the highlight of the 2024 iPad Pro will be an OLED (short for organic light-emitting diode) display in which each pixel glows on its own. This leads to a bright, even image with strong contrast. Leaks indicate these will go into both the 13-inch version and the 11-inch one.

OLED screen panels don’t need backlights so they’re thinner than traditional LEDs. This will allegedly allowed the designers of the upcoming Pro to make the upcoming tablet significantly slimmer.

Also supposedly coming soon is the first 12.9-inch iPad Air. The previous largest version includes a 10.9-inch display.

The current iPad Air 5 from 2022 runs an Apple M1 processor that debuted in 2020. The 2024 version will reportedly jump over M2 all the way to an M3.


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