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The iPad Air 4 will likely have the Pro’s best feature – here’s everything else we know

Apple’s iPad Air 3 is our current pick for the best tablet, so it’s no surprise our attention is piqued at the thought of a followup.

There have been a few rumours doing the rounds claiming to know what features might be included in an iPad Air 4. But not all of them are terribly reliable. Here to make sure you don’t get duped, we’ve created a definitive guide detailing all the current semi-credible looking information there is on Apple’s next iPad.

Whether it’s called the iPad Air 4, iPad Air 2020 or, and this feels the most ‘Apple’, simply iPad Air there’s a lot of anticipation about what the brand’s next mid-range tablet might include.

Apple might offer a cheaper tablet in the form of the iPad, and a more spec-heavy model in the iPad Pro, yet the iPad Air has always been the easiest to recommend. The current model sports a great display, support for the Smart Keyboard and Apple Pencil and performs admirably.

When is the iPad Air 4 coming out?

For the majority of Apple products it’s fairly easy to guess when to expect the next model. We know, for instance, that we’ll likely get the iPhone 12 in September; while iOS 14 will get its big reveal in June at WWDC. Guessing the release schedule for iPads is a little trickier.

The current-gen iPad Air 2019 was released more than a year ago, in March 2019. Instead of following that up with the iPad Air 4 in March 2020, Apple announced the high-end iPad Pro 2020.

The next big Apple event is just a few weeks away. WWDC will be very different this year as it’ll be completely streamed online and free for all. While it’s far more of a software event than a hardware showcase, Apple has released devices here before. Strong rumours this year point towards WWDC being home to announcements for the AirPods Studio and AirTags.

China Times believes the next iPad Air will head into mass production in the third quarter of 2020, which means we could, if all goes to plan, see a release around the same time as the next iPhones in September. Of course, this has been a year quite unlike any other and everything is subject to change – even more so than normal.

Reliable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo (via 9to5Mac) has also claimed Apple will be releasing a new 10.8-inch iPad towards the latter part of 2020, however it is not known whether he is referring to the iPad Air 4 or simply a refresh of Apple’s budget iPad.

iPad Pro

The iPad Pro packs a useful USB-C port

Will the iPad Air switch to USB-C?

If these latest iPad Air 4 rumours from the the Macotakara blog are to be believed then the tablet will have something in common with the iPad Pro – USB-C connectivity. This is the port you’ll find on all of Apple’s MacBook laptops.

This would be a very welcome change, giving iPad Air users the freedom to attach dongles and whatnot to the device. It should also allow for fast charging.

The iPad Air 4 might have a bigger screen, like the iPad Pro

The same source also suggests the next iPad Air will have a lot more in common with the iPad Pro 11-inch than it does with the iPad Air 3. The reports states it could be similar to the first-gen 11-inch iPad Pro, just with downgraded features. We’d assume things like the 120Hz display might be ditched to ensure the Pro kept some exclusive features.

Face ID might be kept on the iPad Pro, with the iPad Air 4 rumoured to have a TouchID sensor planted underneath the screen. While this is common, and usually quite awful, on Android devices we have yet to see Apple implement a similar feature even though it has been heavily rumoured in the past.

Apple iPad Air vs iPad Pro

Apple iPad Air vs iPad Pro

What about other specs and features?

iOS 14 will likely get its reveal at WWDC in June and then see a public release sometime in September. That is if previous years are anything to go by. If the reports about a possible late Q3/Q4 launch are to be believed then we’ll most likely see this new iPad Air 4 ship with iOS 14 preinstalled.

In terms of chipset and camera, it’s still hard to say. The current iPad Air packs the very capable A12 chipset, whereas the latest iPad Pro 2020 is powered by the A12Z. If Apple does indeed take a lot of inspiration from the older first-gen 11-inch iPad Pro then there’s every chance we could see the A12X chip used. A boost from the 3GB RAM in the iPad Air 3 would be welcome, perhaps to the 4GB you’ll find in the 2018 Pro.

Apple added a LiDAR sensor to the 2020 iPad Pro for improved 3D sensing and better AR support, however this doesn’t seem like something that would be added to the Air.

How much will the iPad Air 4 cost?

Until the iPad 4 is properly announced, we won’t know how much it costs. However, we can make some guesses based off existing models’ prices.

Currently, the iPad Air costs £479/$499 for the 64GB model and £629/$649 for 256GB. There’s also an LTE model available for £120/$129 more. The cheapest iPad Pro (11-inch, 128GB) costs £769/$799. Sticking around the £500/$500 mark seems smart and we doubt it’ll cost much more than that, unless the base storage is bumped to 128GB. This should remain Apple’s mid-range tablet and the price will likely reflect that.

As with any rumour or leak, it’s best to take it with a hefty pinch of salt until it’s official. We’ll be updating this page with more information as, and when, we get it. 

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