Apple’s 12.9″ iPad Air Is Slower than the iPad Pro, But Don’t Worry!

This year, Apple did not refresh any of its iPads, which is unprecedented ever since the release of the first iPad. Instead, the iPhone manufacturer is rumored to release multiple iPads in the first quarter of 2024. A new report has furnished additional details about the lineup, especially the chipset choice for the iPad Air, which is also tipped to include a bigger 12.9-inch model.

Apple iPad Air 12.9-inch (2024) processor and keyboard compatibility

In the latest newsletter by Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, he suggested both 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Air models will receive the custom M2 chipset. This is not a big surprise given the current 5th-gen iPad Air from 2022 is still powered by an M1 SoC. Likewise, this will most probably indicate the bigger iPad Air won’t share the more capable M3 chip that will feature in Apple’s upcoming 11-inch and 13-inch iPad Pro, despite the increased screen size.

Regarding the performance of Apple’s M3 chip, it is slightly faster than the M2 which delivers 15 percent and 20 percent higher processor and graphics scores in benchmarks, respectively. Although the chip’s speed difference may be evident in selected scenarios, it remains unclear whether regular users will notice a major performance gap between the two iPad models at all.

Another difference between the iPad Air and iPad Pro’s hardware specifications is the display type. The former duo will stick to an IPS LCD while the two Pro sizes are believed to debut with an OLED screen. However, all these iPads could still feature a 120 Hz display refresh rate.

Apple iPad Pro 2022
Apple’s iPad Pro 12.9-inch (2022) paired with the Magic Keyboard and Apple Pencil 2. / © NextPit

Gurman added that Apple will launch a new Magic Keyboard and Pencil to pair with the new iPads. However, it is believed Apple will include compatibility of the current Magic Keyboard that plays nice with the 12.9-inch iPad Pro to work with the bigger iPad Air, which is similar to how the current iPad Air is compatible with the Magic Keyboard for the 11-inch iPad Pro.

The end of 9th gen Apple iPad and the Home button

The leaker also mentioned that Apple will stop offering the iPad 9 and discontinue this model starting next year. Furthermore, the move could make Apple’s iPad lineup more streamlined with the iPad 10 (review) as the sole standard tablet in addition to the iPad Mini, iPad Air, and iPad Pro.

As for the release date, Gurman speculated the iPad Air will be launched alongside the MacBook Air M3 sometime in March 2024. In a separate post, analyst Ross Young doubled down on this and described that the Cupertino company has started shipping the display panels of the iPad Air and iPad Pro models.

Which of the forthcoming iPad models do you intend to buy next year? Which features do wish to see Apple include? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.