It has been a while since the iPad Air 4 was introduced, and ever since the company announced the iPad mini 6, which sports better hardware coupled with 5G support, bringing in a successor should come sooner rather than later. Thankfully, Apple reportedly has something planned for later this year and if you are planning to pick up the iPad Air 5 down the road due to all the numerous whispers, we are here to provide all necessary info about the updated slate.

iPad Air 5 Design & Display May Not Be Different Than Its Predecessor

Apple would have no reason to introduce a design change, especially when it introduced one less than two years ago. With that being said, we expect the iPad Air 5 to sport slim bezels. Unfortunately, do not expect Face ID support to arrive. Instead, just like the iPad Air 4, we believe that the upcoming tablet would be incorporated with the same side-mounted Touch ID sensor that also doubles as a power button.

At most, we think Apple will allow for faster authentication from that Touch ID sensor. As for the display, the iPad Air 5 may be treated to the same 10.9-inch Liquid Retina IPS LCD panel, with negligible chances of supporting a high refresh rate. To keep costs low, Apple is likely to stay away from mini-LED too, which for now, looks to be reserved for the iPad Pro family only.

Upgraded Hardware With 5G Support

Chances are many customers ignored the iPad Air 4 when the iPad mini 6 came out because it had better hardware, coupled with 5G support, and best of all, it launched for $100 less than its larger cousin. With the iPad Air 5, a previous report mentioned that its innards could be powered by the A15 Bionic, along with a 5G modem. Talking about the chipset for a moment, the choice for Apple might not be as simple as previously announced custom silicon.

You see, with the A15 Bionic’s release last year, Apple introduced a 4-core GPU part for the cheaper iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini, while the more premium iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max were treated to the superior 5-core GPU. The reason for this was simple; the chip shortage likely forced Apple to pick up several A15 Bionic chip orders with one GPU core disabled, otherwise, it would have had to pay more to secure higher binned parts, increasing the base price of the iPhone. Naturally, this choice was made to ensure cost savings and that ample iPhone 13 shipments were available to customers at launch.

The iPad mini 6 has the same 5-core GPU, which is why it delivers impressive performance in the graphics category. Unfortunately, for some reason, the same tablet is running an underclocked CPU, so we are still scratching our heads if the iPad Air 5 would be configured in the same manner. Given its expected size, its surface area is more than sufficient to dissipate heat effectively, allowing the performance cores to run at higher clock speeds, so assuming Apple limits the processor frequency, it will be a strange decision.

We are also unsure if the iPad Air 5 will support mmWave 5G networks. Given that the iPad mini 6 did not ship with this feature, it is unclear if Apple will bring it to the larger device. Coming to Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi 6E is slowly gaining traction as many gaming and regular notebooks are shipping with such adapters, giving them faster download and upload speeds. Since nearly all Apple products ship with Wi-Fi 6, it would not be surprising for the iPad Air 5 to get Wi-Fi 6E support, but it will result in an unnecessary cost increase.

As such, we think Apple will retain Wi-Fi 6-only support for the iPad Air 5 and possibly roll out Wi-Fi 6E for the more expensive iPad Pro range.

Improved Camera That Now Supports Center Stage

Apart from an upgraded 12MP ultrawide-angle rear camera, the iPad Air 5 will reportedly get Center Stage support, according to previous reports. Just like the iPad mini 6, Center Stage allows users to adjust the front-facing camera when using video apps such as FaceTime. Center Stage helps keep up with you or anyone else, putting you in the frame through the use of sophisticated machine learning. As for the actual front-facing sensor’s hardware, we will not be surprised to see the same unit on the iPad mini 6 re-used on the iPad Air 5.

iPad Air 5 Release Date May Happen in March

The iPad Air 5 launch may happen in April or March, alongside a low-cost iPhone, according to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman. He later updated readers, stating Apple is expected to hold key announcements on March 8, where the iPad Air 5 and affordable iPhone SE 5G will materialize. It is not clear if Apple will make both devices available for customers to purchase at the same date or later, but we will keep you in the loop.

Same Launch Price as the iPad Air 4?

Even if Apple sticks with the same silver, space gray, rose gold, green, and sky blue for the iPad Air 5, these are not half as important as the starting price. We could see a $599 base price for the Wi-Fi-only model, just like the iPad Air 4, except now, you are greeted with an improved chipset and are getting 5G support too.

Then again, knowing that these upgrades are what people will be compelled to make a purchase, Apple could proceed by increasing that price by $50. With the chip price hike reports doing the rounds, it will not be surprising to see the California-based giant adopt the same move, but we will keep our readers updated regardless.

Are you excited to see the iPad Air 5 in action? If yes, which upgrade or feature are you looking forward to? Tell us down in the comments.

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