New OLED iPad Pro and refreshed iPad Air tipped to finally launch next week — will you be upgrading?

iPad Pro 12.9-inch and MacBook Pro 16-inch
(Image credit: Future|Lloyd Coombes)

We've been hearing rumors that Apple will launch a pair of new OLED iPad Pro models alongside a refreshed iPad Air lineup in 2024 for months now and the latest reports have pointed to a March or April timeframe. Now, it appears that things can be narrowed down further still with Apple thought to be ready to unveil its new tablets as soon as next week.

Bloomberg's Mark Gurman has been making claims of updated tablets for a good long while at this point and has so far stuck to the late March or April timeframe. However, two different reports now point to a very specific March 26 release date with third-party accessories seemingly giving the game away in both instances. If accurate, this means that users of Apple's tablets will soon have no fewer than four new models to consider when making a buying decision.

Perhaps the most exciting aspect of this round of updates is the rumored addition of an all-new 12.9-inch iPad Air, the first non-Pro model to be released in such a large display size. But for those who need the best of the best, it'll be impossible to look further than the 12.9-inch OLED iPad Pro, a model that is sure to be mighty impressive and have a price tag to match.

A case of leaking cases

These latest reports come courtesy of two Chinese sources. The first, the Chinese social network Weibo, sees leaker Instant Digital note that new iPads will be announced on March 26 with Amazon already offering up a number of cases designed for the updated tablets. They all currently show a release date of March 26 however, suggesting that the case companies know something that we don't. Or at least, that we didn't.

In addition to the Weibo post, MacRumors spotted a report by IT Home that also mentions third-party cases with a release date of March 26. However, the IT Home report uses similar language to the Instant Digital Weibo post so it isn't clear whether the two are linked or if these are actually two distinct reports.

Regardless, Amazon does currently list multiple ESR cases as being designed for the 2024 iPad Air and 2024 iPad Pro. Notably, the iPad Air case is for the 12.9-inch option, a configuration that doesn't currently exist.

As for what we can expect, the 2024 iPad Pro models are expected to sport new M3 chips and of course those OLED displays that promise improved contrast, among other things.

The 2024 iPad Air is set to use the M2 chip, an upgrade over the current model's M1, while the addition of the larger 12.9-inch model is the biggest news. None of the four new iPad models are expected to have any big design changes compared to the previous models although there is some suggestion the FaceTime camera may move position. It's currently at the top of the display, but reports suggest it might move to the side which would make more sense when the tablet is attached to a keyboard and in landscape orientation.

Pricing for the new tablets is as yet unknown, but the switch to OLED technology could see the iPad Pro's price increase somewhat although reports have so far been conflicted on that front.

Whenever the new iPads are actually announced, we expect it to be done via a press release rather than any kind of event.

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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.