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Apple's Latest iPad Buzz: Rumors Swirl Around the May 7 Reveal

The iPad Pro is expected to get an OLED display upgrade, and that's just the first of many new features likely to be introduced next week.

Matt Elliott Senior Editor
Matt Elliott is a senior editor at CNET with a focus on laptops and streaming services. Matt has more than 20 years of experience testing and reviewing laptops. He has worked for CNET in New York and San Francisco and now lives in New Hampshire. When he's not writing about laptops, Matt likes to play and watch sports. He loves to play tennis and hates the number of streaming services he has to subscribe to in order to watch the various sports he wants to watch.
Expertise Laptops | Desktops | All-in-one PCs | Streaming devices | Streaming platforms
Matt Elliott
3 min read
Apple's new iPad 10th generation

Will we see a new 12.9-inch iPad Air debut during the May 7 event?

Scott Stein/CNET

It's been a long time since we've seen any changes to the iPad lineup. Apple didn't release any models in 2023, making it the first calendar year without a new iPad since the tablet debuted in 2010. But things look set to change next week -- Apple is holding an event on May 7, and new iPads are expected to be the focus. 

The latest iPad rumors point to new iPad Pros with OLED displays and a new 12.9-inch size for the iPad Air. The entry-level iPad and iPad Mini aren't expected to see updates at the May 7 event; new models in those lines aren't likely until the fall.

Apple needs to do something with the iPad to keep consumers interested in its device that's neither iPhone nor MacBook. The iPad has always occupied the middle ground between the company's phones and laptops, and now it has company in this in-between zone with the arrival of the Vision Pro. CNET's Scott Stein said the Vision Pro feels like "an iPad exploded into space." The Vision Pro is far too expensive right now to cannibalize iPad sales, but as its price comes down in the years to come, it will compete with the iPad for our third-screen needs and dollars.

We will soon get confirmation as to which direction Apple is taking its tablets. Here's what the rumored updates will look like for each iPad line.

Watch this: What to Expect at Apple's May 7 iPad Event

OLED coming to iPad Pro

iPad Pro and Pencil 2 on a table
Scott Stein/CNET

OLED is the big news with Apple's top-end iPad Pro. The new models will reportedly ditch mini-LED screens for OLED displays that will deliver more vibrant colors, true black levels and superior contrast. The OLED panels could also support a wider range of refresh rates. The newer iPhone Pro models feature always-on OLED displays that can operate as slow as 1Hz to extend battery life.

The updated iPad Pros will come in 11- and 13-inch sizes, with the latter being slightly larger than the current big Pro at 12.9 inches. The new Pros are also expected to upgrade from Apple's M2 chip of the current models to the M3 chip. Other rumored changes include USB-C and MagSafe wireless charging along with an updated Magic Keyboard with an aluminum cover and larger trackpad.

iPad Air expanding to 12.9 inches

iPad Air 2022 on wooden background
Scott Stein/CNET

A larger iPad Air is expected to be added to the line this spring. The current, fifth-gen iPad Air is based on a 10.9-inch display and an M1 chip. The new lineup will be based on M2 chips and available in both 10.9-inch and 12.9-inch models. A 12.9-inch Air would give tablet buyers the ability to get a larger screen without needing to pay the premium for a Pro model.

The new iPad Airs are not expected to move to mini-LED or OLED displays and will keep their LED-based liquid retina panels. The rear camera, according to 9to5Mac, is expected to be housed in a new camera bump that includes a flash, a feature not offered on the current Air. The new models are also expected to work with the current Magic Keyboard and not the keyboard update that will be exclusive to the new Pro models.

iPad and iPad Mini updates later this year

iPad Mini and 9th Gen iPad
Scott Stein/CNET

The rumors are foggier for the entry-level iPad and iPad Mini. Each could get a processor bump, with the 11th-gen iPad moving to the A15 chip and the seventh-gen iPad Mini getting the A16 chip. With the arrival of the 11th-gen iPad, Apple will likely keep the 10th-gen iPad as its budget offering and phase out the ninth-gen model, which is the last remaining model with the home button. These updates are expected not this spring but later in the year.

And by the end of the year, perhaps we will finally see the long-rumored foldable iPad.