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Apple's May 7 event could be the start of iPad's transformation into a true laptop replacement

The new iPad Pros could take their biggest leap yet towards becoming true MacBook rivals.

Published onMay 5, 2024

Apple iPad Pro M2 2022 in Magic Keyboard
Oliver Cragg / Android Authority
  • Apple is expected to unveil new iPad Air and iPad Pro models at its “Let Loose” event.
  • The iPad Air may adopt a dual-screen-size strategy similar to the MacBook Air.
  • The iPad Pro might receive OLED displays, a redesigned Magic Keyboard, and a larger trackpad.

Apple’s highly anticipated “Let Loose” event on Tuesday promises to usher in a transformative era for the iPad. While we expect updates to the iPad Pros and iPad Airs, industry insider Mark Gurman has provided key insights into the post-event iPad lineup configuration and its ambitious convergence with the MacBook experience.

Gurman proposes that the 35-minute presentation will streamline the current iPad lineup and solidify the iPad Pro’s position as a powerful alternative to traditional laptops. Initially, the new iPad Pros were expected to get upgraded to the M3 chip. However, Gurman seems convinced that they would instead launch with the yet-announced M4 chip.

It does seem a little far-fetched for Apple to debut an entirely new chip during a relatively short event. However, it could be possible that the iPad Pro’s M4 chip is just a slightly tweaked version of the M3 that currently powers MacBooks. If that’s the case, Apple might release the more powerful variants of the M4 chip later this year. We’ll just have to wait and see what Apple has in store for us.

Apple is also expected to unveil a redesigned Magic Keyboard for the iPad Pro. Gurman previously reported that the new keyboard will feature a more durable aluminum build reminiscent of laptops and a larger trackpad for a more laptop-like workflow on the iPad Pro.

The iPad Air will reportedly embrace a dual-size strategy, offering both 11-inch and 12.9-inch models, directly mirroring the successful configuration options available with the MacBook Air. The anticipated inclusion of OLED displays in the iPad Pro models has also been reported to translate into a significant price increase, especially for the top-end 12.9-inch version.

This could be another reason why Apple is introducing a 12.9-inch iPad Air, offering the larger form factor option at a more accessible price point. The chip situation on the iPad Air lineup isn’t as confusing either, as they are most certainly getting an upgrade to the M2 chip.

Following Gurman’s analysis, here’s a potential breakdown of the iPad product family after Tuesday’s announcements:

  • iPad (9th generation): The cheapest iPad with a 10.2-inch screen and home button.
  • iPad (10th generation): A 10.9-inch screen and no home button for a more modern aesthetic.
  • iPad mini (6th generation): 8.3-inch screen size, with no immediate changes expected.
  • iPad Air: Offering both 11-inch and 12.9-inch models powered by the M2 chip.
  • iPad Pro: 11-inch and 12.9-inch models featuring the M4 chip and OLED displays

Apple reportedly intends to streamline the lineup further by 2025. The 9th-generation iPad might be discontinued to make way for a more affordable 10.9-inch option. The iPad mini is also expected to receive a processor upgrade to maintain competitiveness.

We won’t have to wait too long to see how accurate these projections are. The Let Loose event kicks off May 7 at 7 a.m. PT/10 a.m. ET.

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