So you fancy buying an iPad. But what about the next iPad? What if when you plonk down your cash, Apple releases an updated version, packed full of new features, and also gives you a free magic hat? That’s the dilemma. Apart from the bit about the magic hat – we’re pretty sure Apple won’t do that.
This article can help. For each iPad model we’ve dug into the current state of play, explored the rumors emanating from the industry’s guessing trousers, and provided a handy ‘Stuff says’ buying recommendation.
The state of play: In September 2021, Apple released the ninth iteration of the iPad. It’s the only one that still resembles the first, with its home button, chunky screen bezel and headphone port.
What’s next: Not much. Those in the know reckon Apple will this year shove an A14 into the existing iPad, which will boost its power and bring Wi-Fi 6/Bluetooth 5 support. A full redesign is rumored for 2023, which would presumably see the vanilla iPad finally ditch the Home button.
Stuff says: The current iPad design is charitably described as ‘classic’ and ‘familiar’, but at some point must go all-screen – and ideally get a laminated display too. This year, though, buy one whenever you want one; an A14 won’t move the needle that much.
The state of play: The iPad Mini’s long been an enigma regarding release frequency and positioning. But Apple vastly improved its tiniest iPad with September 2021’s 6th-gen, more or less transforming it into an iPad Air Mini. There’s an A15 inside that tiny frame – but scrolling can be jiggly in portrait. tsk
What’s next: The main rumor swirling around is the 7th-gen iPad Mini getting a 120Hz ProMotion display, which will handily boot ‘jelly scrolling’ concerns into the sun. No-one’s prediction parrot has parped precisely when this’ll rock up, mind.
Stuff says: Removing the most overt flaw from the iPad Mini would be good. But who knows when it’ll happen? So if you want one, buy it now.
The state of play: In March 2022, the iPad Air played catch-up with the Mini (better camera; 5G) – and then blazed past by way of the surprise addition of an M1 chip. 64GB entry-level storage was the only major snag.
What’s next: Few rumors knocking around here. ProMotion is the most obvious drip-down tech. And if the iPad Pro 11in disappears, the Air getting four speakers would be a blast.
Stuff says: We doubt this unit will get updated any time soon, and so if you want one, ask that nice Mr Cook to send one your way today.
The state of play: The ultimate iPad was last revamped in April 2021, gaining an M1 chip and – in its 12.9in form – an eye-popping mini-LED display. It’s pricey and the 12.9in model is weighty – but it’s also brilliant.
What’s next: An M2 chip upgrade to match Apple’s entry-level Macs is a cert. There are also rumors about MagSafe charging (possibly through a glass Apple logo) and reverse wireless charging for other Apple devices.
Venturing further into the weeds, the rumor mill churns up OLED iPad Pro panels (but probably not in 2022), a unit even bigger than the 12.9 model (which begs the question: why?), and the 11in not getting a mini-LED updated. Boo and hiss.
An autumn 2022 update is mooted for at least some of this stuff, with intriguing rumors that the 11in iPad Pro might be scrapped entirely.
Stuff says: The iPad Pro is a big investment. The hardware quality is such you can’t go wrong if you buy now, but if you don’t need one urgently, maybe wait; also use your innate psychic powers to convince Apple to put the selfie cam on the long edge, so you don’t look all distracted as you appear to gaze off to the side during video calls.