Pouring fuel into fiery rumors of an Apple event that's in the works for March, a new supply chain report claims that the iPhone maker is about to reveal new iPad Air models in March, with full-scale production scheduled for the second quarter of 2016. Reportedly, one of the models will ship with a 4K-resolution screen and up to 4GB of RAM. Given the iPad screen's long-standing 4:3 aspect ratio, we expect the exact resolution to be something along the lines of 4096 x 3072 pixels (DCI standard), or 3840 x 2880p (UHD-1 standard). Number-crunching aside, it's clear that a 9.7-inch display at this resolution will be extremely sharp.
However, the advent of a 4K iPad Air would be equal parts curious and exciting. Last year, Apple eschewed 4K support for its flagship home entertainment product, the Apple TV box. It also graced the 12.1-inch iPad Pro with a 2732 x 2048 resolution, missing a pretty obvious opportunity to pioneer 4K resolution on its most high-profile tablet. In addition, an ultra high-res display will place considerable performance and battery life demands on the tablet, so it would be interesting to see how Apple will ride out these challenges.
In another interesting tidbit, both suppliers have delegated to the source that they expect Apple will increase demand for 3D Touch panels in the first half of 2016, due to orders for products carrying the technology. Although the new iPad Air won't have this functionality, it seems Apple has something else that's also pressure-sensitive in store for later this year. The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus would make for pretty obvious guesses here, but we know Apple must have another idea or two for attractive 3D Touch implementations. Let's wait and see, then!