Apple hints that new iPads won’t land until after the iPhone 14

iPad Pro 12.9 2021
An iPad Pro 12.9 (2021) (Image credit: TechRadar)

If you were hoping to pick up a new iPad 2022 or an iPad Pro 2022 alongside the iPhone 14 then you’ll probably be out of luck, as it looks increasingly likely that Apple’s upcoming tablets will land later.

The latest evidence of that is a comment from Apple to TechCrunch, with the company saying “This is an especially big year for iPadOS. As its own platform with features specifically designed for iPad, we have the flexibility to deliver iPadOS on its own schedule. This Fall, iPadOS will ship after iOS, as version 16.1 in a free software update.”

The key point there being that iPadOS 16 – or iPadOS 16.1 as it’s set to be called - will ship after iOS 16, rather than at the same time. It’s likely that Apple would want to launch its new iPads with this software on them out of the box, so there’s a good chance therefore that Apple’s upcoming tablet hardware will also launch after iOS 16 – and therefore after the iPhone 14.

The wait shouldn’t be much longer though, as Apple’s comment says iPadOS 16 will land this “fall”, which typically means between September and November.

The iPhone 14 for what it’s worth is expected to land on September 7, and it’s likely that iOS 16 will land alongside it. So where does that leave iPadOS 16 and the new iPads? Our best guess is October, as not only does that occur within the “fall” window, but a recent leak also pointed to that month.

Analysis: an iPadOS 16.1 beta is out now, but you should probably wait for the finished version

Apple’s comment above was delivered alongside the launch of an iPadOS 16.1 developer beta. The numbering is unusual as it means that Apple will be skipping iPadOS 16 and going straight to 16.1.

This also means that you can try the latest version of Apple’s upcoming tablet software now, but we wouldn’t recommend it. For one thing, you need a developer account to access this beta, which means jumping through more hoops than for a public beta.

For another, as with any beta this won’t be completely stable or polished, and there are probably good reasons that Apple is delaying the final release. We noted during an earlier beta that the headline Stage Manager feature is in desperate need of work, so experiencing the current version might not be that pleasant.

October isn’t far away anyway, and in the meantime, we’ll soon see the iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Max, iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max, which should sate most Apple appetites for a while.

James Rogerson

James is a freelance phones, tablets and wearables writer and sub-editor at TechRadar. He has a love for everything ‘smart’, from watches to lights, and can often be found arguing with AI assistants or drowning in the latest apps. James also contributes to, and and has written for T3, Digital Camera World, Clarity Media and others, with work on the web, in print and on TV.