12.9-inch iPad Air leaked ahead of expected Spring launch — CAD renders reveal no major design changes aside from size increase

ipad Air 5 showing split screen
(Image credit: Luke Filipowicz / iMore)

The iPad Air 12.9-inch was rumored to arrive last year, but 2023 ended up being a whole year without a new iPad. Now, new renders show the larger iPad Air in all its glory — and it’s exactly what you expect.

In an exclusive sent to 91mobiles, CAD renders of the larger iPad Air, which is rumored to be released in March, have been revealed. While the design is what we’ve come to expect from an iPad, it’s exciting to see a slightly more affordable large iPad added to the lineup.

The raw CAD renders shared to the outlet by “industry sources,” show a 12.9-inch iPad that looks almost identical to the current iPad Air 5th generation. To differentiate from the iPad Pro, the 12.9-inch Air looks set to keep the TouchID Lock button just like the Air lineup today.

One minor design change is in the rear camera, where you’ll now find a border around the lens and LED flash. Unfortunately, it remains unclear how this will look on the physical retail model.

iPad Air 12.9-inch CAD render

(Image credit: 91mobiles)

A bigger Air? Why?

At first, reports of a 12.9-inch iPad Air seemed a bit far-fetched, especially considering the already convoluted iPad lineup. Upon second thought, the larger iPad Air would slot perfectly into the iPad lineup, giving those who want a big iPad a slightly more affordable option without forking out for Apple’s latest and greatest.

It’ll be interesting to see how the iPad Air 12.9-inch is marketed, as I believe Apple will need to make a good pitch to turn potential customers towards the larger Air over a 12.9-inch iPad Pro on the secondary market. Nowadays, with multiple generations of the current iPad Pro design, there are plenty of good deals to be found online. Personally, I’d much rather opt for an older iPad Pro with ProMotion over a new iPad Air for a similar price.

With new reports suggesting that a new iPad Air, iPad Pro, and M3 MacBook Air could all arrive in Spring 2024, we should know more about the 12.9-inch Air sooner rather than later. Don’t expect the more affordable large iPad to launch with all the bells and whistles like the mini-LED on the bigger iPad Pro, however. 

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John-Anthony Disotto
How To Editor

John-Anthony Disotto is the How To Editor of iMore, ensuring you can get the most from your Apple products and helping fix things when your technology isn’t behaving itself.

Living in Scotland, where he worked for Apple as a technician focused on iOS and iPhone repairs at the Genius Bar, John-Anthony has used the Apple ecosystem for over a decade and prides himself in his ability to complete his Apple Watch activity rings.

John-Anthony has previously worked in editorial for collectable TCG websites and graduated from The University of Strathclyde where he won the Scottish Student Journalism Award for Website of the Year as Editor-in-Chief of his university paper. He is also an avid film geek, having previously written film reviews and received the Edinburgh International Film Festival Student Critics award in 2019. 

John-Anthony also loves to tinker with other non-Apple technology and enjoys playing around with game emulation and Linux on his Steam Deck.

In his spare time, John-Anthony can be found watching any sport under the sun from football to darts, taking the term “Lego house” far too literally as he runs out of space to display any more plastic bricks, or chilling on the couch with his French Bulldog, Kermit.