- Similar to recent years, Apple is expected to hold product launch events in September and October.
- The iPhone 14 and Apple Watch 8 may be introduced in September, but the iPads and an update to iPadOS 16 may be delayed until October.
- The midrange iPad Air received an M1 chip in the spring, but the entry-level iPad and iPad Pro are on wait until the fall.
- Meanwhile, the iPad Pro hasn’t been updated since spring 2021, when it introduced 5G, an M1 processor, and a Mini LED display to the larger 12.9-inch model
- According to certain reports, the Pro tablets will include wireless charging.
Apple has recently upgraded the back-to-school-oriented MacBook Air with a new M2 chip, a better camera, and a larger screen. However, Apple’s iPad lineup is still due for an update in 2022. The iPad Air received an M1 chip in the spring, but the entry-level iPad and iPad Pro will not receive one until the fall.
Similar to previous years, Apple is expected to host product launch events in September and October. The iPhone 14 and Apple Watch 8 could be introduced in September, while the iPads and iPadOS 16 could be held back until October.
If you’ve been anticipating new iPad models, here’s what you can anticipate.
iPad mini: A new design and USB-C
According to recent reports by Mark Gurman and 9to5Mac, the entry-level iPad may receive a significant upgrade. The current entry-level ninth-generation iPad still features a Lightning port and the original circular Touch ID home button, but the design may be updated to match the iPad Mini, iPad Air, and iPad Pro. This could entail flatter edges, a display with rounded corners, USB-C charging, and possibly a Touch ID button on the side, similar to a cheaper iPad Air.
The base iPad could receive the A14 chip from the previous-generation iPad Air, which would be an upgrade from the A13 chip in the current iPad but less powerful than the M1 chip found in the iPad Air and iPad Pro models. Consequently, the basic iPad may not be able to utilize the additional Stage Manager multitasking modes in iPadOS 16.
Since the entry-level iPad adopted the previous iPad Air’s body design a few years ago, this is hardly a surprise. The transition to USB-C charging seems overdue.
This could also make the entry-level iPad compatible with the second-generation Pencil and Apple’s line of Magic Keyboard cases.
The entry-level iPad could have optional 5G cellular connectivity, which would be an upgrade over current LTE options.
The entry-level iPad’s price could potentially increase, however, so keep an eye out. Inflation-related price increases for products have already occurred in 2022, and the same could occur for the most affordable iPad.
iPad Pro: Improvements waited for a long time coming finally
The iPad Pro has not been updated since spring 2021, when the 12.9-inch model was updated with 5G, an M1 chip, and a Mini LED display. All indications point to October for the release of a new model.
Reports also indicate that the Pros will receive the M2 chip that was recently introduced in the MacBook line, which appears to be the most logical move. Other variables that may or may not change:
Next-gen display tech
The 12.9-inch 2021 iPad Pro was the only device to feature an upgraded Mini LED display, similar to the most recent MacBook Pros, which offered deeper blacks and more dynamic contrast. The 11-inch model may not be equipped with Mini LED this year. Instead, the 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPads may receive OLED displays in a future update.
No changes in the screen size
A larger display for the iPad Pro may not be available for several years. MacRumors reports that two of Apple’s suppliers are preparing larger OLED displays (up to 15 inches) for upcoming iPad models. The arrival of these larger Pro tablets is not anticipated until 2023 or 2024.
Will the cam placement change?
Fixing the placement of the front-facing camera is my top iPad wish, along with a thorough OS overhaul to make it a superior Mac alternative. The cameras for Zoom meetings on iPads in landscape mode (which is the default orientation if you use a keyboard case) are positioned to the side.
While Apple’s zoom-in Center Stage camera technology is somewhat helpful, it does not address eye-contact issues; during iPad Zooms, I usually appear to be staring into space. Who knows if a camera switch to the longer edge is possible this season. Apple did not relocate the camera on the most recent iPad Air, so it seems unlikely.
What about the Magic Keyboard?
Apple’s Magic Keyboard, which is two years old, is useful but has flaws: It lacks a row of function keys, is pricey, and cannot be folded back into a folio format for reading or sketching. It’s unlikely that Apple would reduce the price of the case, but I’d love to see an upgraded version with function keys and possibly USB-C/Thunderbolt ports. Currently, no reports indicate that this will occur.
Give us a new Pencil!
Apple’s Pencil is also quite outdated, and the second-generation model, while durable, is quite long and difficult to store. Would Apple ever consider a more compact Pencil, or one that could fit more easily into the design of the iPad Pro? A few additional programmable touch-sensitive functions on the side would be useful. Again, no reports have surfaced regarding this.
Rumors indicate that the Pro tablets will support wireless charging. Would MagSafe suffice? MagSafe has appeared in recent MacBook Pros, iMacs, and iPhones from Apple. One peculiar aspect of MagSafe thus far is that each instance has involved a different type of charger. Would Apple create a unique iPad Pro MagSafe accessory distinct from the iPhone and MacBook versions? Apple’s magnetic Smart Connector for iPads already supports this type of snap-on charge accessory function for devices such as the Magic Keyboard, but Smart Connector-compatible accessories remain scarce.
The iPad Pro’s increased power consumption and keyboard cases may necessitate a battery upgrade. The battery life of the 2022 iPad Air tends to deplete faster than that of the M1 Air. The MacBook Air currently outperforms the iPad in terms of battery life, but the iPad Pro may catch up by 2022.