Apple might be working on a major screen upgrade for future iPad Airs and iPad minis

In-person images of the ipad Air 2022 in use
The iPad Air (2022) (Image credit: TechRadar)

We’ve been hearing for a while that Apple might finally bring OLED to the iPad Pro in 2024, replacing the current mini-LED screens with displays that are more like what you’ll find on an iPhone 15 Pro or iPhone 15 Pro Max. But it seems that might just be the start, as a new report suggests that an OLED iPad Air and iPad mini are also under consideration.

This is according to a report from research firm Omdia (via 9to5Mac), which states that Apple is “continuously discussing the possibility of widely adopting OLED technology for the iPad mini and iPad Air.” However, this apparently wouldn’t happen until 2026 or later, so don’t expect this in the iPad mini (2023) or the iPad Air 6.

Still, if and when it does happen, it would be an even bigger upgrade for these iPads than for the iPad Pro line, as the current models – the iPad Air (2022) and the iPad mini (2021) – both use LCDs, which is generally considered an inferior tech to both mini-LED and OLED.

The main advantage of OLED over both LCD and mini-LED is that it can deliver truer blacks, so colors appear more accurate and the contrast between lights and darks can be greater. That said, mini-LED can deliver superior contrast to LCD, and also has the potential to be brighter than OLED.

In any case, the upshot is that OLED should be an upgrade for any and all iPads, but especially those currently stuck on LCD, like the iPad mini and iPad Air lines.

OLED from next year

Better yet, you probably won’t have to wait until 2026 for an OLED iPad if you’re happy to shell out on a Pro model. As noted above, we’ve heard rumors that an OLED iPad Pro will land in 2024, and this report corroborates that, stating that Apple plans to launch an 11-inch and a 12.9-inch OLED iPad Pro next year.

Those are the same sizes as the current models, though notably we’ve elsewhere heard that Apple might have a larger iPad Pro model planned, either instead of or as well as a new 12.9-inch model.

In any case, whether or when Apple launches OLED versions of the iPad mini and iPad Air will apparently, in part, depend on how well these OLED iPad Pros do, though it doesn’t sound like Omdia expects them before 2026, regardless.

And if you can’t wait for a new iPad then there are plenty of great options already in our list of the best iPads – you’ll just have to do without an OLED display.

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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.