Why you shouldn't get excited about a cheap iPad at the iPhone 14 launch

iPad 10.2
(Image credit: Future)

Apple's standard operating procedure is to launch the newest version of its entry-level iPad at its annual iPhone launch, but we're not expecting the new iPad for 2022 to be shown off at the iPhone 14 unveiling in early September.

That might seem like something of a surprise to Apple fans, who probably had 'new iPad' on their Apple-September-launch-check-list alongside the Apple Watch 8, and the phones themselves of course.

While Apple hasn't officially confirmed the lack of an iPad at its September event (and likely won't, right up until the curtain falls on the event and there's no tablet). However evidence is all pointing in that direction. What evidence, you ask? Well, all this...

The leaks

First were the leaks.

Leaks can be quite a dubious means of gaining pre-release information on devices, but when the stars align - or when reports align - we can start to trust what we're hearing.

For example, while leakers initially pointed to September 14 as the iPhone's launch date, now the 7th is looking like the likely date.

However, leakers all seem unified on the fact that the iPads might come along on that date. No, it sounds like there will be a second launch event, in October, for these tablets. We've heard that information from enough leaks to make it sound pretty reliable. But that's not all... 

Stage Manager in iPadOS 16

An iPad running an early version of iPadOS 16. (Image credit: TechRadar)

The software is late?

Apple usually debuts each new version of its software at the launch of its products, as they'll be the first devices to run with them pre-installed (though people with older gadgets can usually download the updates).

Intriguingly, Apple has already confirmed that iPadOS 16 - the new build of the company's tablet operating system - won't be coming alongside iOS 16 in early September.

If iPadOS is coming out later, it seems like a big hint that the iPads are too... in October maybe? It's very possible.

Apple Event 2020

A screenshot from the 2020 Apple Event when we saw the iPad. (Image credit: Apple)

It's not the first time

Now, while it may seem surprising for Apple to launch its iPhones and iPads separately, it's actually not the first time. In fact, we saw it just two years ago.

In 2020, Apple launched its tablets and smartwatches at a separate event a month before the iPhones came along. 

This was chalked up to supply chain issues thank to Covid-19, though Apple didn't comment on that speculation. But a perk of the event is that Apple had more time to focus on its non-iPhone portfolio, and it did, and multiple tablets and smartwatches came along that year as well as loads of services like Apple Fitness Plus.

Rumors suggest that, as well as the iPhone 14 and new iPad, Apple is also preparing to show off a new iPad Pro, Apple Watch 8, Apple Watch 8 Rugged Edition and Apple Watch SE 2. And unless Tim Cook has been taking rapping lessons from Eminem, we don't expect that he'll be able to get through all those devices in one launch event.

All in all, we're really not expecting a new iPad to show up at the iPhone 14 event in early September, but we're hoping to see one before the end of the year, at a separate event that'll likely take place in October. So if you're keen on a new tablet, you're not out of luck just yet.

Tom Bedford

Tom Bedford was deputy phones editor on TechRadar until late 2022, having worked his way up from staff writer. Though he specialized in phones and tablets, he also took on other tech like electric scooters, smartwatches, fitness, mobile gaming and more. He is based in London, UK and now works for the entertainment site What To Watch.

He graduated in American Literature and Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. Prior to working on TechRadar, he freelanced in tech, gaming and entertainment, and also spent many years working as a mixologist.