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Kuo predicts a larger-screened iPad Air in his 2024 iPad forecast

2023 was an historic year in the history of the iPad although it is not the kind of history that Apple wants to celebrate. For the first time Apple let a calendar year go by without releasing a new iPad model. But this has set up 2024 to be a big year for Apple’s tablet line. TF International’s Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, the man who knows what the soup of the day will be in the Cupertino cafeteria two years from today, has released a post about his expectations for the iPad next year. Kuo writes that he expects Apple to upgrade existing iPad models and launch a brand new tablet next year. The analyst repeats something that we’ve discussed often. Apple’s iPad shipments have declined recently as demand from the work-from-home (WFH) crowd has dropped sharply since the pandemic ended.

Kuo says that we should expect two iPad Air tablets to be manufactured by Apple during the first quarter of 2024. One model will feature a 10.9-inch display while a new, larger iPad Air tablet will be launched. This unit will sport a 12.9-inch display which will feature an Oxide backplane which is the same technology used on the 12.9-inch mini-LED iPad Pro. While Kuo doesn’t mention it specifically, the new iPad Air models could both be powered by the M2 chipset, an upgrade from the M1 that runs the iPad Air (2022) tablet.

According to the analyst, later in the first quarter, or during the second quarter, Apple will begin mass production of two updated iPad Pro models. Both will feature OLED displays, an improved form factor and will run with the powerful 3nm M3 chipset under the hood. While Apple had hoped to start production of these tablets early in the first quarter, production issues with the OLED panels have caused a delay. Kuo adds that the OLED screens will use the same LTPO backplane employed on the iPhone 15 Pro handsets. Depending on how Apple prices the iPad Air series, it might raise the pricing of the OLED iPad Pro tablets to keep the same gap in pricing between the two lines. This would be done, notes Kuo, only if the 10.9-inch iPad Air is unchanged in price and the new 12.9-inch model is much more expensive than the smaller unit.

The analyst expects shipments of the new OLED iPad Pro tablets to reach 6 million to 8 million units in 2024 which would be slightly lower than the deliveries tallied by the current iPad Pro models. Kuo blames this on the possible higher pricing for the OLED iPad Pro tablets and possible cannibalization by the new 12.9-inch iPad Air model. Kuo also says that mass production of the new iPad mini has been put off from Q1 to the second half of next year which is also when the 11th-generation iPad will be manufactured. The analyst forecasts deliveries of 52 million to 54 million iPad units in 2024 compared to the approximately 50 million tablets shipped in 2023 and 63 million in 2022.

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