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Apple iPad Air 5 could be here sooner than you think with this big upgrade

iPad Air 5 rumors
(Image credit: Apple)

Apple’s first event of the year has long been tipped for spring, with the iPhone SE 3 or revamped 2022 MacBook Air predicted to be the star of the show. But according to the Macotakara blog, this might also be the moment Apple unveils the iPad Air 5.

The report stems from “reliable sources in China” who claim that 2020’s iPad Air 4 will be replaced with a model that maintains the refreshed look and style but offers “specifications similar” to the iPad mini 6

According to the report, said specs include the Apple A15 Bionic chip, 5G connectivity and improvements to the front-facing camera, which will be upgraded to a 12MP ultra-wide sensor and feature Center Stage. That’s the tech that was introduced with the 2021 iPad Pro, where the camera uses machine learning and digital pan and zoom to keep the subject in shot at all times on video calls and the like. It's similar to the technology used in the Facebook Portal and Amazon Echo Show 10.

These may not sound like the most revolutionary upgrades, but it’s worth reflecting on the fact that the current iPad Air is still one of the best tablets you can buy. At the time of writing it sits in third place on our list behind two more budget-friendly options, and refreshed specs could certainly push it up to top spot. 

In our review, we had nothing but praise for its “elegant thin and light design,” quality webcam and impressive screen. And while the lack of Face ID and headphone jack was disappointing, neither was exactly a deal breaker. 

With all that in mind, a ‘more of the same, but faster’ update ticks all the boxes for us. If we were being super picky, we’d argue that 64GB of storage is a little measly for 2022, though it was of course possible to buy the iPad Air 4 with 256GB for a bit more money. All the same, we’d still like Apple to offer all new Airs with at least 128GB of storage — and ideally make extras like the Magic Keyboard and Apple Pencil a bit more affordable too.

Macotakara doesn’t offer anything more exact than “spring” for the release date, but a recent report suggested that Apple is gearing up for an event in March or April. If you were planning on buying a tablet soon, you may want to hold off a few more months.

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.