iPad Air 5 leak says Apple has a new holiday hero

Only a couple of significant upgrades are planned for Apple's various iPad devices in the next season or two, according to sources associated with Chinese part suppliers. It's suggested that the next iPad Air could be the best place to look for a major change in size and/or power – that or the iPad mini 6, which could have a new 8.4-inch display panel and a new A14 Bionic chip. The rest of the iPad models do not appear to be set to have particularly important changes in the wings.

With the latest word from sources speaking with Macotakara in China, it seems clear that the iPad 9 will have basically the same form factor as past iterations. The same seems to be true of the iPad mini, though this tiniest of iPad units could have a new 8.4-inch display and a slightly newer processor inside.

SEE TOO: iPad Air 4 (2020) Review: Marvel in the middle

As is generally the case, new innovation in tablet-based tech for Apple will almost certainly come to the iPad Pro line first. This follows precedent – users that wish to have the newest features first will pay the higher price associated with the Pro line, and other devices will get similar power in the years to come.

It COULD be time for the iPad Air to reach a point where it's catching up to some past-generation iPad Pro features. Rumors this week (from that same set of sources linked above) suggest that the iPad Air could be released with a LiDAR scanner at its back. That'd allow the device to capture 3D space, work with new augmented reality apps, and generally match the power of the first LiDAR-infused iPad Pro devices.

It's also suggested that the iPad Air 5 could be released with 5G mmWave support – this would more than likely be aimed at the US/North American market where leading mobile data carriers (like Verizon) are pushing for mmWave support. An A15 Bionic chip inside this iPad Air would match said rumor.

The same goes for a set of 4 speakers in an iPad Air 5. If these features ALL appear in the next iPad Air, it'll likely pop up in time for the holiday season here in the year 2021. Given the release schedule of past iPad Air devices, an iPad Air 5 appearing in time for a November or December release would be a home run for the company.

The last iPad Air (version 4) was revealed in September of 2020. It's time for a major upgrade, one that's likely to look and feel a lot like the iPad Pro line has in the past – maybe this time with even more bright color options than before!