Thirsting for the new iPad Air with Mini-LED? We’ve got some bad news

Disney's "Encanto" playing on the iPad Air 5.
(Image credit: Future)

Apple’s iPad Air range is long overdue for an upgrade. The last models to launch in Cupertino’s ultra portable line of tablets was in 2022, which is practically an Ice Age ago in terms of tech updates. Ahead of Apple’s “Let LooseiPad-focused event, multiple rumors have been swirling about a new iPad Air with a Mini-LED screen, but we may have some bad news. 

Heading to X, Display Supply Chain expert Ross Young (thanks, AppleInsider) has put dampeners on the possibility we may see these Mini-LED beauties head to the May event, as he claims that supply chain issues may even push them back as far as the end of 2024.

Why can't we have nice things?

The iPad Pro has enjoyed the Mini-LED treatment since 2021, and while Apple technically still classes it as a “Liquid Retina Display”, the reality is this form of panel tech represents a big jump in quality over the IPS screen of the current iPad Air. 

Why exactly is Mini-LED that much better than IPS? It all comes down to dimming zones. This display tech has far more of them, and while the technology can’t turn off its pixels like the best OLED TVs, more dimming zones equates to stronger black levels. 

That's why it's disappointing to see Young, who has a commendable record of being on the money when it comes to Apple rumors, do somewhat of a 180 on seeing this beefy screen upgrade any time soon.

OK, so when may the new iPad Airs arrive?

It’s not all bad news if you’re thirsting for an upgraded Air, though. As Young believes a new model sporting a Mini-LED display may arrive in the fourth quarter of this year — a release that we hope could line up with the expected arrival of the iPhone 16 at the latest. 

Though the pricing and exact dimensions of the new iPad Air range are yet to be confirmed, an 11- and 12.9-inch version of the super slim tablet have been heavily rumored for months. In case of the latter, that would mean the new Air would be bigger than ever, rocking the current screen size of the largest iPad Pro M2.

What about "Let Loose"?

Apple Let Loose event invite

(Image credit: Apple)

With only a couple of weeks to go before “Let Loose”, at least you won’t have to wait that much longer to know what’s going on with the future of the iPad Air lineup. 

Rumors up until this point have suggested the event will showcase four new models: the iPad Air and iPad Pro, both in 11-inch and 12.9-inch sizes. But if the iPad Air models are going to be relegated to the fall, we may instead see the arrival of the iPad mini 7 or the 11th gen iPad alongside the Pro models.  

P.S. someone better tell the case manufacturers...

More from Tom's Guide

Dave Meikleham
UK Computing Editor

Dave is a computing editor at Tom’s Guide and covers everything from cutting edge laptops to ultrawide monitors. When he’s not worrying about dead pixels, Dave enjoys regularly rebuilding his PC for absolutely no reason at all. In a previous life, he worked as a video game journalist for 15 years, with bylines across GamesRadar+, PC Gamer and TechRadar. Despite owning a graphics card that costs roughly the same as your average used car, he still enjoys gaming on the go and is regularly glued to his Switch. Away from tech, most of Dave’s time is taken up by walking his husky, buying new TVs at an embarrassing rate and obsessing over his beloved Arsenal.