Apple will hold a conference on September 15, the opportunity to discover a new iPad with a more accessible positioning than the very expensive iPad Pro. Will Apple again offer an entry-level iPad? Will it have a USB-C port and a powerful keyboard? Maybe.
Here is what we expect and what we would like to see on the next generation of iPad.
An iPad Air that would look like the iPad Pro
The most likely announcement is of a redesigned iPad Air that takes inspiration from the Pro. The latest report from Bloomberg says a new iPad Air will debut alongside the Apple Watch Series 6. Expect a larger screen with thinner bezels and a modern design.
Along with a processor upgrade (likely an A13), the new iPad Air could upgrade to USB-C instead of the Lightning port, which would be great news for purchasing standard chargers and other accessories. The iPad Air should however continue to be equipped with a Touch ID sensor, but it would be located on the side, like what is found on some Android smartphones.
A more efficient entry-level iPad?
The base 10.2-inch iPad, worth $ 300, currently has an A10 processor, which is quite old. It could evolve and take advantage of a new processor (A12 or higher) and instantly become a better device. Hopefully this will happen, for application compatibility and performance.
USB-C for the whole range?
The Lightning port could live its last hours on the iPad, the whole range should switch, like the iPad Pro. Especially since MacBooks use USB-C and Thunderbolt 3. This leaves only the iPhone in the Lightning camp, at least for now.
Stephen Shankland / CNET
A new keyboard would be helpful
Apple’s pricey Magic Keyboard is pretty fantastic, with a keyboard and trackpad that look like a laptop. It would be interesting if Apple could offer a more affordable version for the new iPad Air, especially since iPadOS relies fully on trackpads.
Scott Stein / CNET
Augmented reality and iPad: a possible evolution?
Apple’s aspirations for augmented reality have always been driven by apps and services. The invitation for the September 15th event contains an “easter egg” suggesting that augmented reality could make a comeback, perhaps for education?
An upgraded processor on an iPad Air could enable the latest features in Apple’s SDK, and a larger screen could take advantage of some of the ideas that currently exist on the iPad Pro. A new iPad Air is unlikely to feature the iPad Pro’s Lidar sensor, but Apple could take the opportunity to introduce more voice recognition software.
Unlikely: a camera for video chat
Video chats are boring on iPads. Although they are equipped with good cameras, the front sensor is still positioned for use in portrait mode. Position it in landscape mode (which is useful for everyday work) and you have the impression of looking into the distance, into the void.
Apple’s event is scheduled for September 15.
Scott Stein / CNET