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Next-gen iPads to mark the biggest refresh in years

 (Apple)
(Apple)

Apple is set to give the iPad series its biggest refresh in years, according to Apple insider Mark Gurman’s newsletter.

Bloomberg’s Gurman suggests the next iPad Pro tablets, due to be announced in 2024, will have completely new screen tech and will share processors with Apple’s next-generation MacBooks.

Current iPads have LCD screens, which are typically lit by a backlight that illuminates the whole of the display whenever it is active. The next top iPads are set to use OLED panels, in which each pixel is a separate light source, allowing for dramatically improved contrast.

OLEDs have not been used in iPads to date, but have been used in iPhones since 2017’s iPhone X.

The current top-tier iPad Pro tablets do use OLED alternative mini-LED screens, which have an LCD-style backlight, but one that can be disabled in zones. This screen style enables the iPad Pro to reach searing 1600-nit brightness.

If Apple is to switch to OLED next year, it will no doubt have found a way to make tablet-size OLED screens that bright. The OLED panel of the iPhone 14 Pro Max can already reach 2000 nits, after all.

Gurman suggests we’ll also see Apple’s iPad Pro tablet screen sizes change too, just slightly, from 11 inches and 12.9 inches to 11 inches and 13 inches.

Considering this is being labelled a major revamp, we may see the screen borders of the next iPad Pros shrink down further. That’s likely to mean a larger screen with a similar footprint in the 13-inch iPad Pro, and perhaps a slightly smaller and potentially lighter 11-inch iPad Pro.

iPad Pro: new features

Apple is also expected to redesign the Magic Keyboard accessory in order to accommodate a larger touchpad, which is routinely seen in the company’s laptops. The clearest route here, given the lack of spare space in the current iPad Magic Keyboards, would be to decrease the height of the top row of number keys, leaving more space for a bigger touchpad.

The next iPad Pros will also use Apple’s M3 chipsets, which are expected to be seen in MacBooks as early as October 2023.

The bad news? All this innovation won’t really apply to the cheaper iPad models.

Apple’s 10th Gen iPad, the one with a 10.9-inch screen, and iPad mini may get a refresh in October 2023, but will have much less dramatic changes.

It could also see the current “cheap” option, the iPad 10.2, bumped off Apple Store shelves entirely after two years in the spotlight. This would make the entire iPad line USB-C compatible, as 2021’s iPad 10.2 is the last iPad left with a Lightning port.

Apple is expected to bring USB-C to its iPhone 15 at a launch event around September 12, following a mandate established by the EU that all phones, tablets and cameras sold by the end of 2024 will need to use the standard.