Here’s what to expect from the ‘Let Loose’ event


Apple has scheduled its next product showcase for May 7, a few weeks before the Worldwide Developers Conference gets under way. While the company is, as usual, being a bit coy about what’s on deck, the signs are all there. It had been rumored for months that Apple would refresh its iPad lineup in May. Sure enough, the image on the announcement for this “Let Loose” event includes an illustration of a hand holding an Apple Pencil.

Various reports over recent months have offered some insight as to what Apple has up its sleeves. So, with that in mind, here’s what to expect from the upcoming iPad event:

Nathan Ingraham / Engadget

It’s been about 18 months since Apple updated any of its iPads, so its tablet lineup is due for a refresh. It won’t exactly come as a surprise to see Apple slot M3 chips into the latest iPad Pro models, since the most recent versions run on M2 chipsets.

Otherwise, the biggest update is expected to come in the form of OLED displays, according to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman. That should bring richer colors and deeper blacks to the iPad Pro.

Since OLED panels are thinner than LCD panels, that should allow Apple to reduce the thickness of the iPad Pro. According to 9to5 Mac, the 11-inch iPad Pro will be 0.8 mm thinner at 5.1 mm, while the 12.9-inch model will be more noticeably slender, as the thickness is expected to drop by 1.5 mm to 5 mm. A leaker has suggested that the bezels could be up to 15 percent thinner than previous models as well.

Rumors have been swirling for a while that Apple may offer a glass-backed iPad Pro this year to enable MagSafe charging. Meanwhile, there have been hints that Apple will solve one of our biggest iPad bugbears and move the front-facing camera to the landscape edge of the Pro, as it did with the entry-level iPad in late 2022. That means the camera will be more optimally placed for those who use a Magic Keyboard or folks who simply prefer a landscape orientation.

Apple iPad Air (2022)

Nathan Ingraham / Engadget

As for the iPad Air, which Apple has left in stasis for over two years, that’s expected to get an upgrade to M2 chips from the M1 that the tablets currently use. There are rumblings that Apple will go with the older chip in the iPad Air to differentiate it from Pro models and ensure that the latter devices clearly remain its highest-end tablets. Reports suggest that the iPad Air’s front-facing camera is also blessedly moving to the landscape edge.

There is one other big change we’re expecting for the iPad Air, and I mean that in the most literal sense. Apple is rumored to be prepping the first 12.9-inch iPad Air. It’s likely to be the least expensive option for a large-screen iPad, even though that would run somewhat against the “Air” part of the name.

Display analyst Ross Young previously suggested that the 12.9-inch iPad Air screen would have a mini-LED display, but that no longer appears to be happening — at least for now. However, Young says that Apple may release an iPad Air with such a display later this year. Meanwhile, the new iPad Air models may have a larger camera bump, perhaps so Apple can add a flash.

The latest Apple Pencil with USB-C charging falls to a new low

Engadget

Gurman reported last year that Apple was working on a revamped Magic Keyboard, but only for the iPad Pro, not the Air lineup. The updated keyboard is said to make the iPad Pro look more like a laptop, with a larger trackpad. It’s said to be made of aluminum to make it sturdier than previous models, though “the exterior shell of the Magic Keyboard will retain the cover material of the current model,” Gurman says.

In addition, Apple is expected to unveil a new Apple Pencil to replace the second-gen model. Dataminers have suggested that an updated peripheral could include a squeeze gesture to carry out certain actions and have Find My support. Some reports have indicated the next Apple Pencil could work with Vision Pro drawing apps too.

Even though the iPad mini in particular is getting very long in the tooth — the most recent model arrived in September 2021 — you probably shouldn’t expect a new model to show up at the Let Loose event. Not are we expecting to see a new base iPad. Reports suggest an 11th-gen iPad and an updated iPad mini may arrive later this year, but maybe don’t hold your breath for them.



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