Ming-Chi Kuo was back a few days ago, calling for a new “iPad” in the second half of 2020. This report came courtesy of MacRumors. The problem is, we really don’t know which one model he’s talking about yet.
Kuo reports the new model to be 10.8″, giving it a larger screen than both the current iPad, which is 10.2″, and the iPad Air that comes in at 10.5″. Considering that there have already been rumors that the new Air will take on the form factor of the 11″ iPad Pro, the size certainly seems to line up more with that model. There have also been earlier reports that a new Air is coming this year, which lends a little more circumstantial evidence to this being a redesigned Air.
However, if that is the case, why didn’t Kuo just come out and say it? This is especially odd because he also mentioned that a new 8.5″ iPad Mini is coming early next year in the same report. Why call out the name of one iPad and not be specific about the other?
While it is possible that Kuo was specific and we will be getting a new 10.8″ base model iPad, I’m still leaning toward this being a new Air. The iPad went from 9.7″ to 10.2″ less than a year ago, while the Air is based on the three year old design of the 10.5″ 2017 iPad Pro. The Air is definitely due a refresh before the iPad. Add in the previous rumors of a new Air coming this year and the fact that its reported design is directly in line with the 10.8″ size, I still feel confident that a new mid-tier Apple tablet is on the way in 2020.
If I’m right, the only question left is when a new Air is coming. If this were a normal year, I would bet good money that it would be this Summer, ahead of the launch of the new iPhones and Apple Watch. Apple never releases too many things at one time and they have a significant backlog of rumored hardware that is supposedly coming this year. There are only three release windows left at this point- late Summer, an already crowded Fall with the iPhone and Apple Watch, and pre-Black Friday, ahead of the Christmas shopping season. The iPad Air strikes me as a linchpin device for an alternate window to the iPhone, so before or after Fall seems like a given.
However, 2020 is no normal year and there are no guarantees of what the future will bring. Whatever new iPad may be coming, there is no telling when it will be announced. It could come at any time, but if COVID-19 isn’t brought under better control by the end of the Summer, it could even be pushed to next year. Thanks to the worldwide pandemic, there’s never been a more unpredictable time for Apple products. Whatever happens, we should start to hear more from the supply chain about this coming iPad in the near future.