iPad Air 4 might break tradition in many surprising ways

The iPad Air has always had a special but confusing place in Apple's tablet portfolio. Initially touted as a successor to the mainline iPad 4, the iPad Air became its own thing before being discontinued in favor of the first iPad Pro. It resurfaced last year with a new lease in life but still with an uncertain position in the grand scheme of things. Now Apple's thinnest and lightest iPad might once again spark the public's interest but once again blur the lines between Apple's iPad lines.

Last year's iPad, just like the iPad mini it launched with, seemed to carry the old iPad tradition, which translates to thick bezels and a Touch ID button. There have been rumors of new iPads coming, be it in 10.8-inch or 11-inch form, but sources seem to be in disagreement whether it would be an iPad Air or a cheaper iPad. To add a bit more flavor to that debate, a new leak seems to suggest it might be neither.

Leaked photos from what is allegedly the manual for an unannounced iPad Air shows a tablet that looks more like an iPad Pro with very visible yet also narrower bezels. More curious is how this tablet doesn't seem to have any Touch ID in front nor does the manual mention any Face ID. Instead, the manual supposedly tells users to place their finger on the top button, the location of the tablet's power button, suggesting the iPad Air 4's fingerprint sensor will be housed there instead.

The back of the device is also curious, showing pogo pins at the bottom not so different from the 2018 iPad Pro's smart connectors. There is also the mention of a USB-C port, something that also debuted on Apple's 2018 pro tablets. Presumably, it would also be compatible with some accessories, throwing weight on the 11-inch size theory.

Based on this leak, the next iPad Air could resemble more the 2018 iPad Pro than any of the previous iPad Airs or iPads before it. It would definitely be an interesting change, hinting that Apple may finally be ready to leave that old design behind while still holding on to some "classic" and cheaper features like Touch ID.