12.9-inch iPad Air tipped for massive iPad Pro upgrade

The big iPad Air, which is expected in the next few weeks, appears to be getting more than just a size boost

iPad Air 2022
(Image credit: Apple)

The 12.9-inch iPad Air, which is currently scheduled to launch in May 2024, may be getting more than just a size boost. A new report says that the new, larger display is going to get leftover panels from the same-sized iPad Pro – and that means the iPad Air will be getting a mini-LED upgrade. 

Current iPad Airs have IPS LCD displays, which are pretty good. But mini-LED is better. As we said in our iPad Pro 12.9 M2 review, that iPad has a "stunning screen" – and it looks like it'll be coming to the much more affordable (compared to the Pro) iPad Air next month.

Why the iPad Air isn't getting mini-LED everywhere

According to display analyst Ross Young, the iPad Air is benefiting from leftover panels from the 12.9-inch iPad Pro – but there are no such panels at the 10.9-inch size, so the rest of the iPad Air range is unlikely to get a similar display upgrade.

The benefits for the big iPad Air aren't just cosmetic. Mini-LED is more energy efficient than LCD, so the switch to more power-sipping panels should compensate for the battery life hit you'd get from simply offering a larger version of the same display.

While the iPad Air is catching up with the current iPad Pro in the display stakes, the Pros are moving targets – and they're expected to get their own display upgrades in the form of OLED panels, which are also expected to launch in May this year. For professional users OLED is better even than mini-LED, as the different display technology delivers true blacks and better contrast.

What we don't know yet is how much these no doubt terrific tablets will cost. The 12.9-inch iPad Air will clearly be more expensive than the current models, but we don't know by how much – and the new OLED iPad Pros have also been tipped for price hikes too, because the sizes Apple needs aren't common and therefore cost more money. 

However, as we reported at the time of the price hike prediction it's still very speculative, and the report did say that Apple was likely to push the panel prices down before its new iPads entered production. We'll find out soon enough: the launch of both the 12.9-inch iPad Air and the new OLED iPad Pros is just weeks away.

Carrie Marshall

Writer, musician and broadcaster Carrie Marshall has been covering technology since 1998 and is particularly interested in how tech can help us live our best lives. Her CV is a who’s who of magazines, newspapers, websites and radio programmes ranging from T3, Techradar and MacFormat to the BBC, Sunday Post and People’s Friend. Carrie has written more than a dozen books, ghost-wrote two more and co-wrote seven more books and a Radio 2 documentary series. When she’s not scribbling, she’s the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR (havrmusic.com).