May 30, 2024


Good news, everyone. Apple made money, or more specifically it made most of its cash this quarter with services like its Apple Savings Account. Its hardware, on the other hand, has been a fair bit more diluted, leading to an overall 4% decline year-over-year. Worst of the bunch was the iPad, which made more than $1 billion less than the same time last year. Whelp, I guess it’s time for an upgrade, and Apple just so happens to have the remedy right around the corner with its Let Loose event on May 7. Expect new iPad Pros with a brand new OLED screen, a bigger version of the iPad Air, and last but not least, perhaps an all-new M4 chip that will usher in Apple’s push into AI.

We’ve been hearing about new OLED iPads for a while now, but they may finally be in our hands in less than a week’s time. All the latest rumors and leaks have proved that this won’t be your average tablet refresh. Both the 11.1-inch and 13-inch iPad Pro will switch from the Liquid Retina XDR mini-LED display to some variety of the organic light-emitting diode kind. These screens have become widely seen as the cream of the crop thanks to their inky blacks and excellent contrast, not to mention battery savings because they don’t need backlighting. Apple calls its iPhone OLED its “Super Retina” technology, though we don’t know if it will stick with the same nomenclature for the scaled-up screens.

The iPad Air is also getting a lift up. According to rumors from noted iPad supply chain analyst Ross Young, a new 12.9-inch iPad Air will pack the mini-LED that was a surplus of the previous-gen iPads. Essentially, the bigger Airs will carry a screen equivalent to the current-gen MacBook Pros.

Apple May Also Introduce the New M4 Chip at Let Loose

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Photo: Philip Tracy / Gizmodo

Both new iPads could support the latest M3 chip that was first introduced at the tail end of last year, but if Bloomberg’s major Apple guru Mark Gurman is to be believed, the new iPads could go one step forward and support an all-new M4 chip. This would be the latest in the company’s M-series line, but more importantly, it would greatly increase the neural processing capacity for its latest devices. This NPU capacity would be there to handle AI tasks, whether that’s AI image generation or on-device chatbots. The M3 could already support AI to some extent, but a move as significant as a new chip would point to a new push for AI-specific apps on Apple’s latest devices.

To round off the AI rumors, iPadOS 18 is supposed to pack far more AI functions than previous generations of the OS. And to cap it off, there may even be a new calculator app. We don’t expect iPadOS at the May 7 event, but Apple could make reference to it during its presentation. More likely, we’ll see the debut of iPadOS 18 and iOS 18 at WWDC 2024 on June 10.

Also, expect Apple to unleash a few new accessories for the new iPads. This will include a new Magic Keyboard attachment that, according to Gurman’s anonymous sources, would feature more aluminum for a sturdier base than previous generations. We also could see the new Apple Pencil 3 with pressure sensitivity and connection to Apple’s Find My app for when you inevitably lose it between the couch cushions.

Why is Apple Releasing a New iPad Now?

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Photo: Caitlin McGarry / Gizmodo

The last new iPad release was in 2022. Did you miss it? No, probably not. Instead of going another year where the 11th-gen tablets were just another mild upgrade over the year prior, Apple skipped 2023 and is now set to unleash several major upgrades to its tablet lineup, and all for the better.

Apple’s latest quarterly earnings report showed the company was down $1.1 billion in iPad sales compared to the same three-month period last year. It was a 17% drop in sales, though that makes sense, as last year the company did not unleash a new 11th-gen iPad or even drop a single hint at its absence. The closest we got to anything tablet-related was a new Apple Pencil with USB-C. In their investor call, Apple execs claimed it was hard to match the momentum of the M2 iPad Pro, but the company’s chief financial officer Luca Maestri told shareholders that more than half of those people coming to the iPad in the last quarter were brand new to Apple’s tablet ecosystem.

However, in the next quarter, Apple expects iPad sales to grow by “double-digits.” We’ll have to see if Apple will truly bring the bacon from this year’s belated debut of the 11th-gen iPad.

A version of this article originally appeared on Gizmodo.



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