Apple event: Everything to expect at iPad launch as company reveals new products

Everything we know about Apple’s upcoming ‘Let Loose’ event

Andrew Griffin
Tuesday 07 May 2024 12:22 BST
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(Getty Images)

Apple is preparing to hold its next event, titled ‘Let Loose’ and its first launch of the year.

The event is likely to focus on the iPad. Most rumours point to that being the headlining release – and even the invitation included an Apple Pencil, in a rare almost-direct confirmation of what would be starring.

Apple also hasn’t updated any of its iPads since the year before last, meaning that they are all now overdue.

As such, the event is unlikely to see any other big announcements, such as new Macs or iPhones – but it could still include some surprises. Here’s everything we expect at next week’s event, on 7 May.

:: Follow our live coverage of the event here

iPad Air

The iPad Air has been waiting for an update. It has not received a refresh for more than two years, and it is starting to show.

Apple is expected to add the M2 chip, from the M1 that it currently runs. And it might come in a larger size for the first time – at the moment, you must pay the extra for the iPad Pro to get the larger 12.9-inch display.

iPad Pro

The premium member of the iPad line-up is expected to get premium upgrades. They are said to include a new OLED display, a change of the camera placement so that it is in the right place when the laptop is used in landscape, and a whole new chip that might be focused on AI.

There may also be some more obvious design changes on the outside. The size is expected to be reduced – in part because that OLED display can be thinner – and the bezels might be smaller.

iPad and iPad Mini

There have been fewer rumours about the iPad Mini and the iPad. (Confusingly, the entry-level iPad does not have a separate name of its own, and is officially just known as the “iPad (10th generation)”.

The iPad Mini is the member of the current line-up that has gone the longest without an update. There has not been a new version of that tablet since September 2021 – meaning that it is now two years and seven months old.

The iPad is a little newer, and received its last update in October 2022. But that is still much longer without an update than usual – the version before that was released in September 2021, too, and it usually on a roughly annual cycle.

As such, if neither of those tablets receive an update, they might look very old against the iPad Air and Pro. They might simply receive smaller chip updates or similar upgrades – or Apple might leave them in their place as the cheaper end of the line-up, and encourage anyone looking for the newer technology to pay up for the more premium Air and Pro.

Apple Pencil

This was the star of the invitation – and is likely to be central to the event. Apple is widely rumoured to be introducing a whole new Apple Pencil.

It is not exactly clear what the update will bring. But rumours suggest that the update might include haptic feedback for the first time, akin to the small vibrations that allow the MacBook’s trackpad to feel like you are pressing it.

That might also help Apple clear up the confusing Pencil line-up. At the moment, Apple offers three different versions of the Pencil – and the features and compatibilities are a little confusing to work out.

Some rumours have also suggested that the new version of the Pencil could work with the Vision Pro, though it might not do so straight away.

New keyboard

Apple is also rumoured to be working on another big accessory: an updated keyboard for the iPad. Some rumours suggest that it could be metal, allowing the iPad to become something more like a laptop.

(You can expect to pay up for this. The current version – which is made out of plastic – costs $349.)

Software

If the new iPad Pro is going to be focused on AI, then it will presumably need some new artificial intelligence software to run on it. While Apple does include AI tools in many of its existing products, those obviously work fine on the current hardware.

But Apple usually uses its Worldwide Developers Conference event, in June, to launch new features and major software updates. It has already teased that this year’s event will include some AI updates.

So will the new launch include new AI tools, or at least some hints at what those might be? Or will we get the hardware this time – and wait until June for the software that it is built to run?

Anything else?

The event seems focused on iPads, and Apple is unlikely to want to take their spotlight by introducing too many other new products. As such, it seems that there probably won’t be any surprise or other announcements.

One big standing question, however, is when Apple will introduce the Vision Pro headset in other countries. It said when it was released in the US that it would come to other countries later this year – but has not said anything since.

Might Apple choose to announce that it will be more widely available at the same event? No rumours have yet pointed to that – but it remains possible.

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