The rumors swirling around a 14.1-inch iPad have shifted. Last week, supply chain analyst Ross Young predicted that the potential device would be branded as an iPad Pro and would be equipped with the Mini LED / ProMotion display, like the one found on the current 12.9-inch iPad Pro. Now, however, Young predicts that the 14.1-inch tablet won’t have Mini LED or a 120Hz adaptive refresh rate display, according to a report from MacRumors.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, there are also rumors that the entry-level iPad, which currently sells for $329 and features a 10.2-inch screen, will get a big upgrade with modern connectivity and specs.
A 14.1-inch iPad without Pro features and cutting-edge screen tech does seem a bit confusing at first — wouldn’t power users want the biggest screen and all the high-end features? — but the move does make some sense. Apple recently announced a new multitasking feature for iPadOS, called Stage Manager, that’ll be coming later this year and that’ll benefit from extra screen space. In my opinion, at least, it wouldn’t hurt for Apple to shy away from astronomical pricing for the first iPad that could really take advantage of the system (though Samsung charges around $1,000 for its 14.6-inch tablet, so less expensive doesn’t necessarily mean actually affordable). With that said, the people who would appreciate more screen real estate the most would be the iPadOS enthusiasts, who probably wouldn’t love having to choose between getting a bigger canvas or sticking with the beautiful display tech from the 12.9-inch Pro.
Young predicts that the 14.1-inch iPad will be released in the first quarter of 2023.
Part of Apple’s reported decision to not put a maxed-out screen on the 14.1-inch could come down to supply chain considerations. Looking at delivery times of the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, it does seem like Apple may be struggling to keep up with demand for the Mini LED-equipped tablet. The company’s website predicts that it would take over two weeks for me to get the base model of the big Pro, whereas I could get the 11-inch version, or the Air, within hours. Some configurations of the MacBook Pro, which features a 14.2-inch Mini LED display, also seem relatively difficult to come by.
Could the least expensive iPad finally get a new design? Maybe
For Apple’s entry-level iPad, the supply of Mini LED panels probably won’t be a concern for quite a while. However, 9to5Mac reports that the tablet will be getting a refresh later this year, which will include a 2360 x 1640 screen — the same resolution as the current iPad Air. The current model’s screen is 2160 x 1620, so it seems likely that the screen will be getting slightly bigger.
9to5 also reports that the upgraded iPad will join every other current iPad model in having a USB-C connector instead of a Lightning one and that it’ll also get 5G capabilities. It’ll also reportedly feature Apple’s A14 chip, a bump up from the A13 in the current model. The report doesn’t mention whether the company will update the tablet’s design along with its capabilities, but if it’s really getting a new screen and port, it’d be very strange if its body doesn’t change as well. (Plus, how could you fit both a bigger screen and a home button in the same amount of space?)
As for the iPad Pro lineup, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman predicted last week that they’ll be getting refreshes later this year (they were launched in April 2021). The expectation is that they’ll be getting the M2 chip that Apple announced at WWDC. Last year’s rumors indicated that the 11-inch iPad Pro would be getting the Mini LED, but those have recently been reversed as well — Young and noted analyst Ming-Chi Kuo have both predicted that the smaller Pro iPad won’t be getting the advanced display tech. While Apple’s “desktop class” upgrades to iPadOS may gel well with an upgrade desktop-class processor, it’s not exactly the most exciting upgrade. Those, it seems, may belong to the lower-end iPads.