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Apple has one too many iPads in its lineup, and it will fix this with some more new iPads

This includes one new screen size option for the iPad Air.

Published onDecember 11, 2023

Apple iPadOS 17 for iPads 3
  • Apple is said to be working on two screen sizes of the iPad Air and two of the iPad Pro, which are expected to launch in early 2024.
  • Later, the iPad 11th-generation launch will phase out the iPad 9th-generation and some older accessories.
  • This is said to simplify the iPad lineup.

The iPad has been a category-defining success for Apple, changing the perception of what a tablet can do. Even though Android tablets have always existed, only the iPad has thrived. But in an effort to diversify its lineup with options and serve more needs across price points, Apple has ended up with a surprisingly confusing iPad lineup that contrasts with the much simpler iPhone, Apple Watch, and even Mac lineup. But a simpler iPad lineup could be on the horizon once Apple launches newer iPads in the coming months.

Apple’s current iPad lineup in 2023 looks like this:

  • iPad (9th generation): Starts at $329 for 64GB Wi-Fi
  • iPad (10th generation): Starts at $449 for 64GB Wi-Fi
  • iPad Mini: Starts at $499 for 64GB Wi-Fi
  • iPad Air: Starts at $599 for 64GB Wi-Fi
  • iPad Pro:
    • 11-inch iPad Pro: Starts at $799 for 128GB Wi-Fi
    • 12.9-inch iPad Pro: Starts at $1,099 for 128GB Wi-Fi

As you can see, there are plenty of price points that Apple hits with its lineup. Further, storage options and options for Cellular models add more price laddering to the lineup.

Apple iPad lineup

But this diversification makes it confusing to actually buy an iPad. For instance, if you had a budget of $600-$700, which iPad should you buy? You could buy six combinations within that range, and an even more flexible budget on either side would get you even more options.

What makes this a bad situation is that the end experience for the user could be pretty similar between these, leading to confusion and analysis paralysis. Then there are accessories to consider, with certain accessories being compatible with certain iPads and not others.

But according to a report from Bloomberg, Apple plans to overhaul its iPad lineup in 2024. One of the ways it plans to do this is by creating more differentiation between the iPad Pro and the iPad Air. Apple’s leaked iPad lineup for early 2024 includes two iPad Air (10.9-inch and 12.9-inch) and two iPad Pro (11-inch and 13-inch).

The iPad Air (2024) is expected to come with an M2 processor, which will help set it apart from the iPad 10th generation, which isn’t expected to be upgraded until “much later,” according to the report.

On the other hand, the iPad Pro (2024) is expected to come with an M3 processor, an OLED display, an updated design, and a revamped Magic Keyboard attachment. These features will differentiate the Pro and the Air enough and set the Pro apart as the highest-end model.

Apple iPad Pro M2 2022 display 3
Oliver Cragg / Android Authority
iPad Pro with keyboard

These two iPads are expected to launch in the first quarter of 2024. Once these two iPads are launched (and their current options are phased out at launch), Apple will work on the next batch. When the iPad 11th generation launches, Apple will phase out the iPad 9th generation and some older accessories, which should help clean up the portfolio.

Here’s what Apple’s lineup could look like later in 2024:

  • iPad (10th generation)
  • iPad (11th generation)
  • iPad Mini
  • iPad Air:
    • 10.9-inch iPad Air
    • 12.9-inch iPad Air
  • iPad Pro:
    • 11-inch iPad Pro
    • 13-inch iPad Pro

While this won’t be the leanest portfolio of iPads, it should help create meaningful differences between the models. Some may argue that adding more variants (like another screen size on the Air) is the opposite of a cleanup, and that would be a fair argument. But the final pricing ladder could be more spaced out and less confusing once Apple executes its plan.

Keep in mind that the highest-end Pros with the Magic Keyboard start encroaching into MacBook Air territory. Apple may have even more blurred lines across its lineup if and when MacBooks get a touchscreen.

Until then, let’s hope we get to see an actually simplified iPad lineup.

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