The iPad Air 2020 looks to bring even more Pro-level features (and a bigger screen) to a lower-priced iPad, but it might have a much later release date than anticipated. Now that we've seen the iPad Pro 2020 roll out, the Apple tablet rumor mill has started to show signs of how the rest of the iPad family will grow in 2020 or beyond.
Rumors and leaks so far point to the iPad Air 2020 (or iPad Air 4) having a lot in common with the more modern iPad Pros, much like how the iPad Air 3 was based on the 10.5-inch iPad Pro.
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These updates appear to push the iPad Air as Apple's mid-range tablet —pricier and more fully-featured than the regular iPad, but without all of the bells and whistles of the iPad Pro.
iPad Air 2020 release date and price
We first called the iPad Air 2020 by that name because of a claim by Mac analyst Ming-Chi Kuo (published by supply chain blog Macotakara) that the iPad Air 4 is coming in the second half of 2020.
That's a relatively wide window, and given Apple's most recent hardware releases. The latest iPad Pro, for example, was simply announced via press release.
But then Apple product leaker Komiya dropped a bit of bad news, that the iPad Air 4 is actually coming out in March 2021... which would make this the iPad Air 2021. We take this rumor with some seriousness, but we're also waiting for more prominent sources to back up this delay.
The iPad Air 2020 starting price was expected to likely be close to $499, as all previous iPad Air models have started at that cost, but new rumors are giving many a more positive outlook. Nobody's saying how much more affordable, but supply chain sources told DigiTimes that "Sales prospects for the new 10.8-inch iPad devices are also bright as the new lineup, which feature high performance CPUs, will be available at more affordable prices."
On June 29, Kuo noted that a 10.8-inch iPad is on the way, and that very well may be the iPad Air 2020. The current iPad Air has a 10.5-inch display, and that doesn't feel quite as significantly different anymore when the regular iPad measures 10.2 inches.
iPad Air 2020 specs
The iPad Air 2020 might get a lot of hand-me downs from the 11-inch iPad Pro from 2018. Macotakara's aforementioned report references a Chinese supplier who says the iPad Air 4 will feature a USB-C port, instead of Lightning. The aforementioned leak from Komiya backed up the USB-C port rumor.
It also noted that the iPad Air 2020 will get Face ID (which makes sense if it's heavily based on the 11-inch iPad Pro). Similarly, Komiya notes other predictable features based on the iPad Pro similarity: support for the iPad Pro Magic Keyboard and superior 2nd Gen Apple Pencil. While Macotakara's claiming the new Air will have a 10.8-inch screen, Komiya says to expect an 11-inch panel — which almost makes the new iPad Air sound like the current 11-inch iPad Pro under a different name.
The biggest difference would pertain to the iPad Air's camera. Instead of the 3-sensor setup in the Air, Komiya claims that the next iPad Air won't have a regular camera on its rear, but a wide-angle 12MP sensor instead. We're not sure why Apple would change to a wide lens, the only thing that we can think of is that it's been done because of how iPads are often seen (near our old office in midtown NYC) as the camera of choice for some tourists taking landscape photography.
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As for storage, expect a starting capacity of 64GB. That's both the current iPad Air entry-level capacity, and was the storage you got with the 2018 iPad Pro.
For a processor, Komiya says expect an A14X processor, which would beat our earlier expectations of an A13 Bionic. That was based on Apple's history of recycling CPUs. The iPad Air 3 features the A12 Bionic, which was used in the iPhone XS and XR phones (the most recent iPhones at that time), and the current iPhone 11 line uses A13 chips. By comparison, the regular iPad runs on the older A10 Fusion processor.
iPad Air 2020 design
The iPad Air 4 may not look exactly like the 11-inch iPad Pro. Leaker @L0vetodream posits that the tablet will use the rumored mini LED display technology that hasn't hit any iPad yet for a full-screen design with no notch or no Face ID camera.
@L0vetodream also gives hope for a much-wanted return of Touch ID. In the same tweet where they leaked the lack of Face ID, they said the tablet will have "Touch ID under the screen." Hopefully that technology won't just be limited to the iPad Air, but make it to the iPhone 12 or iPhone 13 — since Face ID doesn't work when you're wearing a face mask.
Rather, Touch ID will be facilitated by an under-display fingerprint scanner, meaning the next iPad Air could look a little like the iPad Pro 2020 only without a camera in the side bezels for Face ID. This is the same type of fingerprint reader that's occasionally been rumored to hit the iPhone 12.
L0vetodream is also speculating that the Magic Keyboard may find another iPad to pair with, outside of the iPad Pro. The iPad Air would make the most sense for this, as it's the highest end non-pro iPad.
iPad Air 2020 outlook
All of the iPad Air 2020 leaks point to a fairly important update to the tablet. If all of these rumors hold up, the iPad Air 4 will primarily appeal to those who have found the regular iPad a little sluggish or wish they could charge their tablet with the same USB-C cable they use for their iPad. The USB-C cable will also appeal to those looking to switch from Lightning to the more-standard cable that's used for charging MacBooks.
Stay tuned for all the latest iPad Air 2020 rumors.