iPad Air and iPad mini could get OLED displays — but not for another 3 years

iPad Air 5
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The iPad mini and iPad Air could be in for a major upgrade within the next few years, according to a report from research firm Omdia. We know Apple’s been working towards an OLED iPad for some time, and it seems the two mid-range iPads could enjoy this upgrade in around three years time.

According to Omdia, the OLED iPad transition will begin in 2024 with the first OLED iPad Pros. The firm claims Apple is not fully committed just yet, but will be using this to gauge reactions to OLED screens on an iPad, but odds are the new displays will make it to iPad Air and iPad mini a couple of years later.

We’ve been hearing rumors about the possibility of an OLED iPad for some time now, with conflicting rumors on when such a device might arrive. Word is right now that the 2024 iPad Pro range could finally add those screens to an Apple tablet — alongside a bunch of other upgrades. 

In fact the changes coming to iPad Pro 2024 are said to be the biggest revamp the line-up has enjoyed since 2018. Rumored changes include a brand new Magic Keyboard, a 3nm M3 chipset that still hasn’t debuted on Macs, and the OLED display.

The iPad Pro range currently has a mini-LED display which, while a stark improvement over LCD screens, still lags behind OLED. According to Bloomberg reporter Mark Gurman, a known Apple sleuth, the iPad Pro’s new OLED panel will be “crisper and brighter” and will “reproduce colors more accurately”. OLED is also known for having better viewing angles than mini-LED, alongside better contrast and higher refresh rates. Though they don’t get to be quite as bright as mini-LED.

It makes sense that Apple would initiator this change on the Pro models first. They are the premium iPads, with performance that has the potential to rival some MacBooks, and come with the appropriate price tag. If people are paying those prices, they expect to get the best possible features and performance in the process.

Adding OLED to an iPad Air or iPad mini at the exact same time is only giving people one less reason to shell out for an iPad Pro. Plus, if something goes wrong, Apple only has to initiate damage control on a single product instead of three. Hence the two-plus year gap in the reports.

So we're going to have to wait and let this rumor play out. But it's good to hear that Apple could, finally, upgrade the iPad range from LCD screens at long last. Let's just hope the entry-level iPad is in for a change somewhere further down the line too.

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Tom Pritchard
UK Phones Editor

Tom is the Tom's Guide's UK Phones Editor, tackling the latest smartphone news and vocally expressing his opinions about upcoming features or changes. It's long way from his days as editor of Gizmodo UK, when pretty much everything was on the table. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining about how terrible his Smart TV is.