The iPad Air with OLED looks increasingly unlikely to happen in 2022

iPad Air 4
The iPad Air 4. (Image credit: TechRadar)

Remember the rumor that the iPad Air would get the superior, more vibrant OLED technology for its next incarnation? That's no longer happening according to the latest analyst predictions, though a model that sticks with the traditional LCD screen is said to be still in the pipeline.

That's as per notable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo (via MacRumors), and it suggests that the iPad Air 5 will continue to differentiate itself from the Pro-level iPads by coming in at a more affordable price (something LCD will help with).

Only a couple of days ago we came across another report from a different source saying that the OLED iPad Air was no longer happening in 2022, so while nothing is certain yet, it looks increasingly likely that Apple is going to stick with LCD technology when it updates this tablet sometime next year.

Pro updates

Kuo had a few more bits of information to share in his note to investors. Apparently the next 11-inch iPad Pro is going to get the same mini-LED technology in its display that's currently exclusively available on the 12.9-inch iPad Pro.

Part of the reason the 2022 iPad Air OLED has been canceled is to give the mini-LED 11-inch iPad Pro a chance to shine in 2022, Kuo says. The word is that the costs and performance of an iPad Air with an OLED display didn't match Apple's standards.

However, Apple is still apparently continuing to look into newer display technologies for all the tablets in the iPad line, so watch this space. We should be getting quite a few updated slates during 2022, offering yet more improvements over the current versions.

Opinion: so many iPads

iPad 10.2

The latest 10.2-inch entry-level iPad. (Image credit: Future)

At this point we can forgive you for losing track of exactly how many different iPads Apple makes, and what all the differences are between them. Only last month Apple unveiled 2021 versions of the iPad mini and the 10.2-inch entry-level iPad.

The mini-LED technology on the larger iPad Pro that isn't available on the smaller iPad Pro is a good example of how these tablets can have minor variations that are still worth knowing about – and that's before you get into the multitude of storage and cellular configurations that are available on a lot of models.

At the moment the iPad Air is bridging the gap between the cheaper iPad and the iPad Pros, and for a lot of people it hits a sweet spot in terms of specs and design. Whether Apple is going to be able to strike that balance again in 2022 remains to be seen.

One quick way to distinguish between all the iPads is to check the price – that gives you a rough idea of which ones have the newer technology on board. And when the 2022 iPad Air finally does appear, how much it costs will go a long way to determining where it fits in the broader iPad range.

David Nield
Freelance Contributor

Dave is a freelance tech journalist who has been writing about gadgets, apps and the web for more than two decades. Based out of Stockport, England, on TechRadar you'll find him covering news, features and reviews, particularly for phones, tablets and wearables. Working to ensure our breaking news coverage is the best in the business over weekends, David also has bylines at Gizmodo, T3, PopSci and a few other places besides, as well as being many years editing the likes of PC Explorer and The Hardware Handbook.