Gurman Predicts Big March for Apple: New iPads Pro and Air, M3 MacBook Airs, and New iPad Peripherals

Mark Gurman, reporting for Bloomberg:

The iPad Air, which is the company’s mid-tier tablet, currently comes with a 10.9-inch screen. For next year’s release, the company will add a version that’s about 12.9 inches, matching the size of what’s currently the biggest iPad Pro.

The company is also preparing revamped versions of the Apple Pencil and Magic Keyboard accessories, which it will sell alongside the new iPad Pro. The new Pencil — codenamed B532 — will represent the third generation of the product. The company released a new low-end model in November.

The new Magic Keyboards — codenamed R418 and R428 — will make the iPad Pro look more like a laptop and include a sturdier frame with aluminum.

A big iPad Air is interesting, and I suspect will prove popular. No word, alas, on a new iPad Mini though. (I wish Apple would drop the “Mini” brand and just make the iPad Air in three sizes: mini, regular, and large, with identical specs.)

Gurman offers no details about the form factor for the updated iPad Pro models. Given that last year’s 10th-generation regular iPad moved the front-facing camera to the long side of the device — the appropriate location for a camera when the iPad is being used laptop-style — it seems like a safe guess that Apple will do the same with these next-gen iPad Air and Pro models. But the spot where that camera would go is currently the same spot where current iPad Pros have the magnetic attachment for a 2nd-gen Apple Pencil. So I think that’s why Apple is going to introduce a 3rd-gen Pencil — they might need an altogether new way of pairing, charging, and attaching Pencils if they move the front-facing camera to the long side. (Well, that’s one reason to create a 3rd-gen Pencil. Other reasons, of course, would include various ways of making a better stylus — the current 2nd-gen Pencil is now over 5 years old.)

I’m also quite curious about the purported reimagined Magic Keyboards. The current ones are transformative for iPads, functionally, but the rubbery surface material just isn’t durable enough — especially the white ones. MacBooks are remarkably durable; iPad Magic Keyboards demand to be treated carefully. On mine, the rubber is peeling away around my most-used keys. That shouldn’t happen with any keyboard, but it definitely shouldn’t happen with one that costs $300-350.

Wednesday, 6 December 2023