The iPad Air is nearing its one-year anniversary and sales are growing more frequent. Those who’ve followed the industry know this typically points to the incoming release of a new version. After all, Apple already updated its two iPad Pro models with an M1 chip earlier this spring, and the mid-tier Air is a hot seller during the holiday shopping season.
While we anticipate the release of an iPad Air 5 before the end of the year, there is a chance it doesn’t arrive. The iPad Air 4 was a significant upgrade over the previous model, and Apple may feel content letting it ride on the market for another six to eight months. Also, we’d expect to hear more from the rumor grapevine by now if a new iPad Air was on the way. So either Apple is doing a better-than-normal job at keeping rumors under wraps or the iPad Air isn’t arriving as soon as we hoped.
Whatever the case, this article will serve as your hub for all of the latest rumors and leaks about the iPad Air 5.
iPad Air 5 release date and price
The iPad Air 4 launched in October 2020, which might suggest a late-2021 release for its successor. Unfortunately, most rumors claim the next iPad Air won’t arrive until 2022.
According to Korean news site The Elec, Apple is working on a 10.9-inch OLED iPad using Samsung panels. The kicker? It won’t arrive until early 2022.
That doesn’t mean there won’t be a new model this year; it does, however, suggest that a 2022 model would receive bigger updates than a 2021 version, assuming there even is one.
iPad Air 5 rumors and leaks
One of the few rumors providing details about a new iPad Air claims an early-2022 model will have a 10.9-inch OLED display. If true, the iPad Air would keep the same screen size as the current model but move from an IPS panel to OLED technology. If you’ve visited your local electronics store recently then you should be acquainted with OLED — a revolutionary screen technology made popular by LG TVs.
The benefits of OLED over LCD are wide-ranging and include punchier colors, better contrast and perfect black levels. It’s a mouth-watering projection, but one you should take with a grain of salt. Apple opted for mini LED display technology on the iPad Pro instead of going with OLED, so we doubt the company would outfit the less expensive tablet with an arguably better screen.
There could also be a few minor design changes to the iPad Air 5. According to Mac Otakara, citing a Chinese supplier, the iPad Air will look more like the 11-inch iPad Pro. We aren’t expecting a major overhaul considering these two slates already look very similar. However, the iPad Air could get slimmed down even further. A bigger change could come to the camera array if the iPad Air adopts the squircle module with its dual lenses.
Other new features possibly arriving on the iPad Air 4 include an A15 chip (sorry, no M-series rumors yet), 5G support and quad speakers.
What we want from the iPad Air 5
- Longer battery life: Apple’s tablets have always done a decent job on our battery tests, but have never lit up the scoreboard. The iPad Air 4’s 10 hour and 29-minute runtime is very good, but not much of an improvement from the past few releases. We’re hoping Apple can work some magic by either using a larger battery, optimizing software, or opting for a more efficient SoC to add a few extra hours of use for those long nights of streaming Netflix or cramming a project that’s due the next morning.
- Kill the 64GB option: This one is simple and long overdue. Boost the base iPad Air 5 to 128GB of storage because it’s 2021 and 64GB isn’t enough. As it stands, Apple forces people to either make do with 64GB or spend a lot more on the 256GB model. Come on, Apple, cut it out!
- New display technology: There isn’t anything wrong with the 10.9-inch display on the iPad Air 4 but, as I wrote in my review, “It’s a nice screen, but not the most colorful and it lacks the silky smooth 120Hz refresh rate found on the iPad Pro.” Apple doesn’t need to go with an OLED or mini LED panel on its mid-tier slate; a 120Hz refresh rate would be enough of an upgrade for me.
- 5G support: Apple’s newest iPad Pro models were the first to receive 5G support, and there is reason to believe the connectivity will trickle down the iPad Air. For all of its unfilled promises, 5G has become a standard feature across modern phones and tablets. Samsung’s sub-premium Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 FE costs $669 and comes with 5G support, so skipping this feature on the iPad Air 5 would put Apple at a disadvantage against one of its biggest rivals.