A strange quirk of production delays and scheduling has meant Apple has not updated any iPad model this calendar year, for the first time ever.
Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo says he expects the company will aggressively catch up in 2024, updating the entire lineup with new models of iPad Air including a larger 12.9-inch size option, iPad Pro with OLED displays, updates to iPad mini and a new generation of the cheapest entry-level iPad.
Despite delivering updates to the entire lineup, the analyst is not particularly optimistic about unit sales. Kuo currently anticipates total iPad shipments of around 52-54 million units, a minor increase of the estimated 50 million units shipped this year, and still far below the 2022 pandemic peak of 63 million.
In calendar order, Kuo first expects the iPad Air lineup to be updated in the first quarter of 2024. This includes an update to the existing 10.9-inch size, and a new 12.9-inch model. The existence of a 12.9-inch size corroborates previous supply chain rumors. Kuo says the iPad Air will still use LCD display panels, albeit upgraded with a new oxide backplane. Apart from the new screen size option, expect chip upgrades for better performance.
In the second quarter, the iPad Pro is on track for a new generation launch. The new iPad Pro models will feature a redesigned chassis, the latest M3 chip, and an OLED display for the first time in Apple tablet. OLED should be a significant upgrade over mini-LED, in both display quality and power consumption.
In the second half of the year (likely fall), Apple will then refresh the lower end of its tablet lineup with new versions of iPad mini, and the base model iPad (11th-generation). The current cheapest iPad on sale, iPad (9th generation), will finally be discontinued before the end of 2024. That will complete the Lighting port transition for the iPad lineup.
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