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iPad Air 5 tipped to feature M1 chip, just like the iPad Pro

Published Mar 8th, 2022 7:31AM EST
iPad Air
Image: Apple Inc.

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Apple’s Peek Performance press event will bring over several new products on Wednesday The list includes the iPhone SE 3 smartphone and iPad Air 5 tablet. They’re both product refreshes of existing products, which will focus on upgrading the performance. A last-minute iPad Air 5 leak indicates the mid-range tablet will get a more exciting upgrade than we’ve been expecting, the M1 chip that powers various MacBooks and the 2021 iPad Pro series.


When Apple unveiled the fourth-gen iPad Air in September 2020, the mid-range tablet featured a faster System-on-Chip (SoC) than the latest available iPad Pro. That was the A14 Bionic processor, which would also power the iPhone 12 series. Back in 2020, Apple had to delay the iPhone launch due to the pandemic. That’s why the iPad Air 4 was the first iOS device to feature the new A14 SoC.

Apple unveiled the M1 chip in November 2020. Then, it used the SoC in the 2021 iPad Pro models that it unveiled about a year ago. The M1 gave the iPad Pro a considerable advantage over the competition, putting it on par with the 2020 MacBook Pro, Air, and Mac mini. Then again, the iPad Pro was already playing in a league of its own, and many said the M1 SoC was overkill for the tablet.

iPad Air
iPad Air 4th-generation. Image source: Apple Inc.

iPad Air 5 to feature the same M1 SoC

A year later, rumors say that Apple will soon unveil the next-gen M2 SoC chip, which will equip the new MacBook Air and an entry-level MacBook Pro. But the M1 will continue to serve Apple, especially if this iPad Air 5 rumor is accurate. 9to5Mac reports that it had access to information that shows the iPad Air 5 (codenamed J408) will run on the same M1 chip that Apple used for the 2021 iPad Pro models.

Previously, iPad Air 5 rumors said the new mid-range model will feature a variation of the A15 Bionic. That’s the A-series SoC that powers the iPhone 13 series.

The M1 is 50% faster than the A15 Bionic, the report notes. It’s 70% faster than the iPad Air 4. In other words, the iPad Air 5 will get a massive performance boost. The mid-range tablet will deliver a high-end experience as a result. And it won’t have any rivals in the Android camp.

The report also notes that the iPad Air 5 will have the same display resolution as its predecessor. Furthermore, the cellular model will support 5G connectivity. Finally, the selfie camera will come with Center Stage support.

Hardware upgrades aside, the iPad Air 5 should feature a similar design as its predecessor. The iPad Air 4 introduced the current all-screen design. The tablet was the first iPad to feature a fingerprint button in the standby button. Apple used the same tech in the iPad mini 6 last year.

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.

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