Apple expected to introduce new iPads on May 7 — this is the one I’m looking forward to

The Apple Let Loose invitation image on an iPad
(Image credit: Tom’s Guide/Shutterstock/Apple)

Big things could be coming to the Apple iPad lineup of tablets this year. 

The company recently announced its “Let Loose” event for May 7. Though Apple didn’t say it’s announcing new iPads, the event’s graphic featuring an Apple Pencil all but confirms we’ll see new Apple tablets. Since no new iPads were released in 2023, this event has me excited to see what Apple has in store.

Based on what we’ve heard so far, Apple plans to launch the iPad Pro 2024 and iPad Air 2024 first before debuting the iPad mini 2024 and iPad 2024 later this year. To that end, the “Let Loose” event will likely spotlight the new Pro and Air iPads. Reports also suggest we’ll see the debut of the Apple Pencil 3 — a rumor to which the event’s graphic lends credence.

I’ve reviewed some of the best iPads so I’m curious to see what the new iPad Pro and iPad Air have to offer. Though I'm eager to try both new tablets, I’m most excited about one in particular. Here’s what we’ve heard about the iPad Air 2024 and iPad Pro 2024 and which one I can’t wait to check out.

iPad Pro 2024 

iPad Pro 2022

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Let’s start with the iPad Pro since it’s expected to receive the most noteworthy updates of all the upcoming iPads.

The biggest rumor making the rounds is that the upcoming iPad Pro will feature an OLED display. If true, we could see Apple’s first OLED iPad at the “Let Loose” event. Reports say only the larger 12.9-inch iPad Pro will receive this update, with the smaller 11-inch iPad Pro retaining a mini-LED screen.

There could be some other design changes in store. Since OLED displays are inherently thin, reports suggest the 12.9-inch iPad Pro will drop from 0.25 to 0.19 inches, while the 11-inch iPad Pro 2024 will be 0.20 inches thick compared to the 0.23 inches of the current model. Both iPad Pro models should be lighter as a result. The next iPad Pro could also sport a new glass body, which should contribute to any further weight loss. Lastly, the iPad 2024 could come with thinner bezels.

Another rumored upgrade is a landscape front camera. If true, the iPad Pro 2024 could take a design cue from the iPad 10 which also features a front camera positioned on its side. Apple leaker Instant Digital posted an alleged image of the iPad Pro to the Chinese social media platform Weibo (via MacRumors) showing that the iPad Pro 2024 will have its entire TrueDepth camera array to the right of the tablet. The iPadOS 17.4 beta code hinted that the iPad Pro’s Face ID sensors were being relocated from the top of the device when held in portrait, and to the top when held in landscape.

Last but certainly not least is the inclusion of an Apple M3 chip. The M3 processor utilizes TSMC’s 3nm process and brings big improvements in efficiency and speed — which we’ve seen firsthand when we tested and benchmarked the MacBook Pro 14-inch M3, MacBook Air 13-inch M3 and MacBook Air 15-inch M3. Based on that, an M3-driven iPad Pro would be the most powerful iPad the company has ever released. It could make the dream of turning the iPad Pro into a laptop replacement a reality, especially if rumors of an upgraded Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro are also true. 

iPad Air 2024

iPad Air 5

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Based on rumors, the iPad Air 2024 won’t receive as many updates as the iPad Pro 2024. That said, there is one expected upgrade that could be a huge deal — literally.

Rumors claim Apple will offer the iPad Air with two display sizes. Not only will there allegedly be a 10.9-inch version like the iPad Air 5, but a larger 12.9-inch model that matches the larger iPad Pro. This bigger iPad Air will likely be heavier than a 10.9-inch version but still be lighter than a 1.5-pound iPad Pro. Reports also claim this iPad Air’s panel will use the same LCD technology as the current iPad Air and not the mini-LED tech of the Pro models.

Previous rumors said the iPad Air would sport an M3 chip. However, it seems the next Air will pack an Apple M2 chip to distinguish it from the iPad Pro 2024. That might be disappointing, but considering how the iPad Pro M2 can deftly handle dense workloads and graphically demanding games, we doubt many will miss M3 features like hardware-accelerated ray tracing and an advanced Neural Engine.

Which iPad am I looking forward to? 

The iPad Pro 2024 and iPad Air 2024 could deliver major upgrades over their existing models. Of course, we’ll have to sit tight until May 7 to find out.

As for which of these two iPads I’m most stoked for, that’ll have to be the iPad Pro 2024. An OLED panel for the 12.9-inch model is enough of a selling point, but the inclusion of the beefy M3 processor, a repositioned front camera and a lighter design could make this tablet irresistible.

I’m already a fan of the iPad Pro M2 but its successor seems even better, at least based on the rumors floating out there. May 7 can’t get here fast enough!

More from Tom's Guide

Tony Polanco
Computing Writer

Tony is a computing writer at Tom’s Guide covering laptops, tablets, Windows, and iOS. During his off-hours, Tony enjoys reading comic books, playing video games, reading speculative fiction novels, and spending too much time on X/Twitter. His non-nerdy pursuits involve attending Hard Rock/Heavy Metal concerts and going to NYC bars with friends and colleagues. His work has appeared in publications such as Laptop Mag, PC Mag, and various independent gaming sites.