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12.9-inch iPad Air 6 design just leaked with no surprises at all

Published Jan 22nd, 2024 10:24AM EST
iPad Air (2022) Main
Image: Christian de Looper for BGR

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The Vision Pro is Apple’s hottest new device in years. It’s also the only new Apple product around right now. Those of you expecting new iPads — the kind you don’t have to pay $3,499 for and wear on your face — will have to wait until spring. Apple is expected to unveil brand new iPad Pro, iPad Air, and iPad mini models, with the Pro model set to receive the biggest upgrades in years. That’s next-gen OLED panels that might let Apple make slimmer and more expensive iPad Pros than ever. 

It’s not just the Pros that are getting big updates, though, with the iPad Air series set to get the upgrades you’ve been asking for. The iPad Air 6 models will reportedly feature M2 chips, like the ones powering the current iPad Pros and MacBook Airs. On top of that, the Air series will come in two sizes for the first time. Apple is rumored to be planning new 11-inch and 12.9-inch versions of the iPad Air 6. 

The design of the larger iPad Air might have already leaked, as is customary for new Apple products. And I’m definitely not surprised by the CAD renders that follow. I don’t think we need design leaks to guess what the larger iPad Air will look like.

The iPad Air is the perfect tablet for so many people. It lacks some of the high-end features of the iPad Pro, such as high-end displays, ProMotion support, and the latest chips. But that means you’re paying less for a tablet that’s nearly as powerful as the iPad Pro and certainly better than the regular iPad or the iPad mini when it comes to performance. 

CAD designs showing the purported 12.9-inch iPad Air 6.
CAD designs showing the purported 12.9-inch iPad Air 6. Image source: 91mobiles

The downside of the current model is that it only comes in an 11-inch option, and it still rocks the M1 chip from 2020. The iPad Air 6 generation should fix both problems.

The upgrade to M2 is something most iPad users must take for granted. It’s an obvious performance boost to give the Air. 

The larger display size came as a surprise for this iPad Air generation. But it’s an upgrade that leaked well in advance of the CAD renders that just appeared online. Found by 91mobiles, the images show a tablet that’s almost identical to the 11-inch iPad Air 5. And it’s very likely the 11-inch iPad Air 6 will look a lot like its predecessor. 

The Touch ID button is still placed on the edge of the tablet. Two speakers sit on the top, and two on the bottom. On the right side, we have the volume buttons and the magnetic connector. The lack of a SIM tray indicates this is a Wi-Fi version, though it could also be a cellular model that uses eSIM tech to connect to cellular networks.

The 12.9-inch iPad Air 6 also appears to be about as slim as its predecessor, featuring the same all-screen design. 

Leaked 12.9-inch iPad Air 6 schematics shows a new camera module design.
Leaked 12.9-inch iPad Air 6 schematics show a new camera module design. Image source: 91mobiles

What is different is the rear-facing camera module. The CAD designs tease a larger camera module, therefore, a bigger protrusion. It’s still a single-lens camera, but the microphone is now part of the module. 

Even without these renders, I’d expect the iPad Air 6 to almost match the iPad Air 5 design. There’s no reason to make significant changes here aside from giving it an identity. The camera module change usually helps with that. 

That doesn’t mean the iPad Air schematics above are genuine. We’ll have to wait for Apple to confirm all of that. The company won’t do it anytime soon either. The latest estimate comes from Mark Gurman, who says Apple will unveil the new tablets this spring. That translates to a March or April launch for the 2024 tablets. It’s in line with recent estimates for the OLED iPad Pros.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.