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iPad rumours: latest new iPad, Mini, Air and Pro news

See you slater? Here’s what’s (maybe) heading to Apple tablets in the coming months, wherever in the range you're looking

So you fancy buying an iPad. But what about the next iPad? What if when you plonk down your cash, Apple releases an updated version, packed full of new features, and also gives you a free magic hat? That’s the dilemma. Apart from the bit about the magic hat – we’re pretty sure Apple won’t do that.

This article can help. For each iPad model we’ve dug into the current state of play, explored the rumours emanating from the industry’s guessing trousers, and provided a handy ‘Stuff says’ buying recommendation.

iPad

The state of play: In September 2021, Apple released the ninth iteration of the iPad. It’s the only one that still resembles the first, with its Home button, chunky screen bezel and headphone port.

What’s next: Not much. Those in the know reckon Apple will this year shove an A14 into the existing iPad, which will boost its power and bring Wi-Fi 6/Bluetooth 5 support. A full redesign is rumoured for 2023, which would presumably see the vanilla iPad finally ditch the Home button.

Stuff says: The current iPad design is charitably described as ‘classic’ and ‘familiar’, but at some point must go all-screen – and ideally get a laminated display too. This year, though, buy one whenever if you want one; an A14 won’t move the needle that much.

iPad Mini

The state of play: The iPad Mini’s long been an enigma regarding release frequency and positioning. But Apple vastly improved its tiniest iPad with September 2021’s 6th-gen, more or less transforming it into an iPad Air Mini. There’s an A15 inside that tiny frame – but scrolling can be jiggly in portrait. Tsk.

What’s next: The main rumour swirling around is the 7th-gen iPad Mini getting a 120Hz ProMotion display, which will handily boot ‘jelly scrolling’ concerns into the sun. No-one’s prediction parrot has parped precisely when this’ll rock up, mind.

Stuff says: Removing the most overt flaw from the iPad Mini would be good. But who knows when it’ll happen? So if you want one, buy it now.

iPad Air

The state of play: In March 2022, the iPad Air played catch-up with the Mini (better camera; 5G) – and then blazed past by way of the surprise addition of an M1 chip. 64GB entry-level storage was the only major snag.

What’s next: Few rumours knocking around here. ProMotion is the most obvious drip-down tech. And if the iPad Pro 11in disappears, the Air getting four speakers would be a blast.

Stuff says: We doubt this unit will get updated any time soon, and so if you want one, ask that nice Mr Cook to send one your way today.

iPad Pro

The state of play: The ultimate iPad was last revamped in April 2021, gaining an M1 chip and – in its 12.9in form – an eye-popping mini-LED display. It’s pricey and the 12.9in model is weighty – but it’s also brilliant.

What’s next: An M2 chip upgrade to match Apple’s entry-level Macs is a cert. There are also rumours about MagSafe charging (possibly through a glass Apple logo) and reverse wireless charging for other Apple devices. 

Venturing further into the weeds, the rumour mill churns up OLED iPad Pro panels (but probably not in 2022), a unit even bigger than the 12.9 model (which begs the question: why?), and the 11in not getting a mini-LED update. Boo and hiss.

An autumn 2022 update is mooted for at least some of this stuff, with intriguing rumours that the 11in iPad Pro might be scrapped entirely. 

Stuff says: The iPad Pro is a big investment. The hardware quality is such you can’t go wrong if you buy now, but if you don’t need one urgently, maybe wait; also use your innate psychic powers to convince Apple to put the selfie cam on the long edge, so you don’t look all distracted as you appear to gaze off to the side during video calls.

iPadOS 16

Regardless of which iPads above are released next, any new model will be running the latest and greatest version of iPadOS — in this instance, iPadOS 16.

Revealed at Apple’s 2022 WWDC, it will be landing on most iPads later this year (though you can download a developer beta now). The fourth generation of the company’s tablet-specific OS, it’s rammed with all sorts of new features to help elevate the iPad experience.

For starters, as with iOS 16, there are lock screen changes that give you more control over your notifications. There are also improved tools for syncing with other devices. Apple Maps, for example, lets you send directions from your iPad to your iPhone. A new Reference Mode also lets your iPad’s screen colours sync up with those of other displays, which is a handy feature for professional colour work. 

App-specific updates are also thrown in, with a new Mail app letting you schedule and retract emails, as well as set reminders for emails you’d rather deal with later.

One of the most exciting changes though, is Stage Manager, which provides a more desktop-like experience, thanks to the ability to have overlapping and resizable windows. You can also move all of your background apps to the side to get a better overview of what you’re currently using, which is a godsend for multitaskers. This feature will, however, only work on iPad models with the M1 chip.Stage Manager also lets you connect your iPad to an external monitor, which is another welcome feature.

FreeForm — a new OneNote-like app for macOS Ventura — is also landing on iPadOS 16, letting you scribble notes and annotate pictures and jot down ideas, before sharing them with others, if you so wish.

Things are improved on the gaming front too, with a new feature called Metal 3 which upscales the resolution while boosting the framerate for a more premium gaming experience. Certain titles like No Man’s Sky are also arriving on iPad and macOS later this year.

Lastly, Game Center lets you see what games your friends are playing, as well as how many hours they’ve invested and achievements they’ve earned.

As for which existing iPads will get iOS 16, Apple has shared an official list:

  • iPad (fifth generation) and newer
  • iPad Mini (fifth generation) and newer
  • iPad Air (third generation) and newer
  • All iPad Pro models