iPad mini and iPad Air OLED roadmap revealed in new report

iPad Air 5 colors
(Image credit: Apple)

Next year, a number of reliable leakers are predicting that Apple will make its first OLED tablet. It’s set to be a new-look iPad Pro — something Bloomberg reporter Mark Gurman has dubbed the “first major update to the product since 2018.”

While it’s not surprising that the expensive Pro models would be the first to debut the screen technology, it does raise the question of when it will filter down to the cheaper models. And just as we’ve seen Apple’s purported OLED roadmap for Macs, we now have an idea of when the iPad mini and iPad Air will follow the Pro with higher-quality panels.

The schedule comes from Korean site ET News, and it largely mirrors what we’ve heard before, with a little bit more specificity. After introducing OLED to the two iPad Pro models next year, it will be two years before the next tablet gets upgraded in 2026, the report claims.

That year, two tablets will apparently get the OLED treatment: an 8.7-inch iPad mini and a 10.9-inch iPad Air. 

That first measurement isn’t a typo: While the current iPad mini has an 8.3-inch LCD screen, ET News suggests it’s going to grow a decent amount in the next few years. Whether that will be by losing the bezel as the iPad mini 6 did over its 7.9-inch predecessors, or if it’s actually going to have a larger footprint remains to be seen.

Finally, in 2027, the rumored larger 12.9-inch iPad Air will join its little brother in getting OLED panels, leaving just the basic entry-level iPad with LCD screen tech. There’s no mention of that following, which makes sense if Apple wants to keep a low-cost option to ensure its dominance of the global tablet market.

There’s no sugarcoating it: If you want an OLED iPad, and don’t fancy the 2024 iPad Pro, you’re in for a fair old wait. But that doesn’t mean that the mini and Air won’t get improved internals in the interim. Indeed, all four iPad models are set to be refreshed next year, according to the analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.

Kuo predicts the Air’s arrival in the first quarter of 2024, followed by the Pro models in the spring or summer. The mini and regular iPad are tipped for the second half of the year. Pro aside, these aren’t set to be huge changes, however. 

Alan Martin

Freelance contributor Alan has been writing about tech for over a decade, covering phones, drones and everything in between. Previously Deputy Editor of tech site Alphr, his words are found all over the web and in the occasional magazine too. When not weighing up the pros and cons of the latest smartwatch, you'll probably find him tackling his ever-growing games backlog. Or, more likely, playing Spelunky for the millionth time.