iPad Air 6 mini-LED display rumors were premature, but a mystery 12.9-inch tablet is tipped for a late-2024 launch instead

iPad Air with Magic Keyboard
(Image credit: Luke Filipowicz / iMore)

As Apple readies the new iPad Air 6 and OLED iPad Pro launches on May 7, the rumors continue to fly. We're just a couple of weeks out from the big day, but the new iPad Air is causing a lot of confusion. One analyst recently claimed that Apple's 12.9-inch iPad Air — a hotly anticipated addition to the lineup — would sport a mini-LED display just like the outgoing M2 iPad Pro. But, it turns out, that isn't the case at all.

The report, which came via the well-connected display supply chain analyst Ross Young, has now been retracted via a paywalled follow-up post on the X social network. Young now says that the original sources were incorrect and that additional sources believe something else is afoot. There is a new 12.9-inch mini-LED display floating around, but it won't be for the new iPad Air.

If that's correct, the obvious question surrounds what Apple intends to do with that new display. With the iPad Pro switching to OLED displays for the first time, Apple's best iPads are ruled out entirely. So, what gives?

New tablet afoot

Ross Young's revelatory X post has left more questions than it answered.

"Well, we no longer believe the upcoming 12.9" iPad Air will get a MiniLED display," the tweet explained. "While multiple supply chain sources confirmed it resulting in my tweet, even more supply chain sources said it wasn't happening which makes sense given its still high cost."

The additional cost of the mini-LED iPad Air display never did quite make sense, unless Apple was trying to get rid of inventory left over from the iPad Pro that is. But it always seemed like a muddying of the waters that didn't need to happen. Now, Young says, it won't. But there's a twist in the tail of this particular story.

"However, we have heard that there may be a new 12.9" MiniLED iPad introduced in Q4'24," was the next bombshell to come from Young's post.

It's currently unclear what Apple intends to do with that display, assuming these new sources are accurate. There doesn't seem to be room between the iPad Air and iPad Pro for a new device, and while there had been rumors of a new, larger entry-level iPad that obviously wouldn't match up with a costly mini-LED display.

What happens now, nobody knows. It seems likely that we will now spend the next few months trying to pick apart this latest leak until more information arrives. But before then, Apple has four new tablets to release.

The iPad Air 6 lineup is expected to include a refreshed 11-inch model joined by the new 12.9-inch version, both powered by M2 chips. Further up the pyramid, the new OLED iPad Pro will also come in 11- and 12.9-inch variations with upgraded M3 chips inside. No overall design changes are expected, although there is a rumor that the new tablets will see their FaceTime cameras moved from the top of the device to the side — perfect for placing video calls in landscape mode.

Apple is also expected to launch a new, sturdier Magic Keyboard for the new tablets while the Apple Pencil 3 could also finally make its debut. All eyes are on Apple's streamed May 7 event to see exactly what the company has in store.

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Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.