The iPad Air range has for a while come close to matching what the iPad Pro series offers but at a much lower price, and the latest leak suggests the iPad Air 5 could get even closer.
According to Macotakara, citing information from a Chinese supplier, the iPad Air 5 will have a similar design to the iPad Pro 11 (2021). That doesn’t tell us a whole lot, since the current model already looks a lot like an iPad Pro, but it could mean a slightly slimmer build for example, with the latest iPad Pro 11 being 5.9mm thick.
The big visual change though is likely to be the camera, as apparently the iPad Air 5 will have a dual-lens one, including both a main camera and an ultra-wide snapper. The camera specs aren’t listed, but we’d imagine it would use the same setup as the iPad Pro 11 (2021), with a 12MP main (which is already offered on the iPad Air 4) and a 10MP ultra-wide (which would be new).
The iPad Pro (2021) also has a LiDAR scanner and this source says it’s not clear whether the iPad Air 5 will get that or not, so it sounds like it’s possible at least.
Other listed details for the upcoming slate include a 10.9-inch screen, the A15 Bionic chipset that we’re expecting to first see in the iPhone 13 range, four stereo speakers, and 5G, which is something no current iPad Air offers. What the iPad Air 5 apparently won’t get is Face ID, with a Touch ID sensor still apparently being included on the side of the slate.
Additionally, this site claims that there won’t be any significant changes to the new iPad (2021) or the iPad mini 6, with the main upgrade simply being a move to the A14 Bionic chipset (found in the iPhone 12 range). That said, we’ve elsewhere heard that the iPad mini 6 in particular could be getting a design overhaul, so we’d take this with a pinch of salt.
Analysis: the iPad Pro 11 (2021) could soon be a bad buy for most people
If this latest leak is right then the iPad Air 5 could have basically the same design as the iPad Pro 11 (2021), along with a screen that’s functionally the same size, a similar or perhaps identical camera setup, and 5G (meaning you wouldn’t need to buy the pricier slate to get faster connectivity).
Beyond that, the iPad Air 5 might also have an A15 Bionic chipset, which, while probably not a match for the M1 in the iPad Pro 11 (2021), likely won’t be far off, and we wouldn’t think many apps or games will take full advantage of the M1 chipset for a long time anyway. If anything, some might be better optimized for the iPhone 13 range (which is likely to use the A15 Bionic), since that’s sure to sell better than any iPad Pro.
That would leave the iPad Pro 11 (2021) with very few advantages over the iPad Air 5, and it could even be behind in at least one way, because while it’s not mentioned here, we’ve previously heard that the Air 5 might have an OLED screen, which would likely be an upgrade on the LCD of the iPad Pro 11.
All that and the iPad Air 5 is sure to be a lot more affordable. So why would anyone then buy the iPad Pro 11 (2021)? Those who want the absolute most power possible might – or the most storage, as it’s unlikely the next Air will match it there.
But for most users any upgrades here would be overkill, and those who really want the best would turn to the iPad Pro 12.9 (2021), which has a bigger screen and better display technology than the 11-inch model.
Of course, some of the leaks surrounding the new iPad Air 5 might well be wrong, but if they’re not, then Apple could have a hard time making a case for the next model up.
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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 3G.co.uk, 4G.co.uk and 5G.co.uk and has written for T3, Digital Camera World, Clarity Media and others, with work on the web, in print and on TV.