The rumored iPad Air 5 may not arrive until spring 2022, but the new tablet is rumored to get a sufficient amount of upgrades that could make the wait worthwhile.
The current iPad Air (2020) is one of the best tablets around, sporting a fast A14 Bionic processor, a bright and colorful 10.9-inch display, USB-C charging and support for both the Magic Keyboard and 2nd Gen Apple Pencil. The only things we didn't like in our review were the pricey accessories and the lack of Face ID support.
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But even with the launch of the latest iPad Pro 2021 models, the iPad Air 2020 still remains a great choice, thanks to its more affordable price, impressive specs and fun and colorful design.
So what more could Cupertino bring to the table to upgrade an already powerful device? An OLED display could be on tap, as well as a faster A15 Bionic chip that is currently featured in the newly introduced iPhone 13 lineup. We've rounded up all there is to know about the potential iPad Air 5 so far, including the latest rumors, specs, potential release date and more.
iPad Air 5 news (last updated January 16)
- The iPad Air 5 could arrive at an Apple event this spring, and feature the A15 Bionic chip, 5G connectivity, and a 12MP ultra-wide front-facing camera with Center Stage, according to the Macotakara blog.
- Reliable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claimed that Apple had reportedly cancelled plans to equip the next iPad Air with an OLED panel, with plans to use LCD technology instead.
- The Elec had previously reported that Apple allegedly decided to ditch plans to work with Samsung Display on an OLED panel for the next iPad Air, claiming that an OLED-equipped iPad may not happen until at least 2023.
- A new report says that the iPad Air 5 could be getting some iPad Pro-like features, including an A15 Bionic chip and dual camera system.
- A report from Digitimes claimed that the iPad Air with a 10.9-inch OLED display may go into production as early as the end of 2021, with a potential release aiming for 2022.
iPad Air 5 rumored release date
While there's been no official confirmation from Apple, multiple sources point towards a 2022 iPad Air 5 release date, most likely at a Spring event. Another report reveals that the Russian Economic Commission recently listed iPads with several model numbers. Devices don't pass through the EEC unless they are close to launching. This also suggest a Spring release.
What's even more curious is that Apple is reportedly planning to unveil the new OLED-equipped iPad Air ahead of the next iPad Pro models. Perhaps Cupertino has more up its sleeve for its Pro OLED tablets that would require more time in order to produce and announce them.
iPad Air 5 display
We've already spotted a few reports about the iPad Air 5 potentially getting an OLED display. This would be a big step forward for Apple, as the iPad Air could be its first tablet ever to feature an OLED panel.
While the current Liquid Retina LCD panel on the iPad Air is excellent, an OLED screen would provide richer colors, wider viewing angles and perfect blacks. So it would be a major upgrade, both for editing photos and videos and watching the latest Ted Lasso episodes.
It's worth noting that a recent report from The Elec claims that the 10.68-inch iPad model (likely to be the next potential iPad Air) could pack a rigid OLED display, as opposed to the flexible glass that Apple's been implementing into its devices since 2017. The report mentioned that the rest of the iPad models that will follow the 10.68-inch tablet would utilize flexible glass instead.
However, one of the latest reports from The Elec now indicates that an OLED panel could be off the table as Apple has reportedly decided to ditch plans to work with Samsung Display on an OLED display for the next iPad Air.
A reliable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo also stated that Apple decided not to go with an OLED panel for the iPad Air "due to costs and performance not meeting the company's expectations." The analyst noted that the next iPad Air might get an LCD display instead.
While it's too early to say whether the potential iPad Air 5 will actually get an OLED panel, it's entirely possible that Apple decides to retain the current display. After all, the company made the transition to mini-LED for the higher end iPad Pro. So one might think that the Pros would go OLED first.
iPad Air 5 design, features and specs
Apart from the rumored OLED display, not much is known about the rest of the specs for the potential iPad Air 5. However, one report claims that the iPad Air 5 could get iPad Pro-like features, such as an upgraded dual-camera system with support for Center Stage, which allows the camera to digitally pan and zoom to track a subject around a room.
The potential iPad Air 5 may also get a four-speaker audio system, which is currently equipped in the existing iPad Pro 2021 models.
But aside from the above, the source noted that the majority of its predecessor's features will be retained, particularly the 10.9-inch Liquid Retina display and the Touch ID on the tablet's side button. Interestingly, this report contradicts earlier rumors regarding the possible OLED-equipped iPad Air.
iPad Air 5: What we want to see
- More storage: The iPad Air starts with 64GB of storage, which is quite low for $599. We'd like to see 128GB for the iPad Air 5.
- Face ID: This isn't exactly a Pro feature, as it's available on all of the iPhone 12 models. So why not make it easier to unlock your iPad Air?
- Center Stage: This iPad Pro feature should be relatively easy to add to the iPad Air 5 provided Apple upgrades to a dual-camera system. The camera would follow you around during a video chat.
- Portrait Mode: As much as we might not want to admit it, people use their iPads as cameras. So adding this feature would be a welcome upgrade.
- Even longer battery life: The iPad Air 4 lasted 10 hours and 29 minutes on our web surfing test, which is good. But we'd like to see even more endurance this time around, surpassing the 10.2-inch iPad (12:57) and Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 (13:16).