Apple iPad Air 6th Gen release date, price, features, and news
Although it broke ground nearly a decade ago, for nearly half of that time the iPad Air was left to its own devices and hadn't received an update in more than 5 years' time. However, Apple rediscovered its gusto for the iPad Air lineup in 2019, and we've been graced by the presence of three iPad Air generations since. The latest one was the Apple Air 5, which is powered by Apple's superb Apple M1 silicon, comes with 12MP ultra-wide front camera with Center Stage, Apple Pencil and Magic Keyboard support, Touch ID, Wi Fi 6, and more.
Now, given Apple's increased rate at upgrading the iPad Air in recent years, it's safe to expect that the iPad Air 6 might break cover in late 2023 or early 2024 in the worst case scenario.
We will be continuously updating the latest information available on the iPad Air 6 here, not only until it becomes official but later on as well. Let's dive in!
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iPad Air 6 release date
Given that we can observe 18-month windows between the iPad Air 3-iPad Air 4 generations and the iPad Air 4-iPad Air 5 series, we can assume that a similar 18-month period might pass between the iPad Air 5th Gen and the upcoming iPad Air 6th Gen that we're dealing with here. As the iPad Air 5 got released in March 2021, we can anticipate that the iPad Air 6 is looking at a potential September 2023 release alongside the iPhone 15 family.
iPad Air 6 price
For years now, the iPad Air has kept its pricing clean and tight: the entry-level, 64GB Wi-Fi model has started at $599, while the upscale 256GB version has started at $749. Provided that Apple doesn't change the storage variants or doesn't introduce a super-premium feature trickling down from the iPad Pro lineup, we generally expect the iPad Air 6th Gen to cost as much as its two immediate predecessors. This means $599 starting price for the potential 64GB version and $749 for the 256GB one.
* - anticipated prices
iPad Air 6 camera
The iPad Air 6 has always been a single-camera device, and we don't really expect this to change with the iPad Air 6. A dual-camera system is actually a selling point of the more premium iPad Pro family, which also boasts a LiDAR scanner for some extra augmented reality fun.
If anything, we expect a slight update to the overall specs of the rear camera, which didn't receive much love in-between the iPad Air 4 and iPad Air 5 upgrade cycle. Both of those came with a 12MP F1.8 camera capable of 4K@60fps video recording, which was actually rather good for a tablet, but an upgrade will probable be due for the iPad Air 6th Gen.
Meanwhile, the iPad Air 5th Gen introduced a rather notable improvement to the more important front-facing camera, which jumped to 12MP and scored the Center Stage feature that keeps you in the center of the frame during video calls. Thus, we don't really expect any improvements in this area on the iPad Air 6.
iPad Air 6 storage
Ever since the iPad Air 3rd Gen, we've only seen two storage variations for any subsequent iPad Air tablets: 64 and 256GB. Knowing Apple, chances are that the iPad Air 6th Gen will employ a similar storage spread, but what we really want to see is a minimum of 128GB in the iPad Air 6th Gen, with possibly a 512GB version joining the 256GB one. This would certainly make the slate even more intriguing and could justify purchasing the tablet if you're coming from an older slate with 64GB or less. Here's to hoping.
iPad Air 6 storage capacity:
- 64 GB
- 256 GB
iPad Air 6 design
The iPad Air 4th Gen ditched the old-school design of the iPad Air, Air 2, and Air 3, employing a flat-edge iPhone 12/13/14-like design with uniform bezels and Touch ID embedded right into the power button. Given that with the advent of the iPad 10th Gen all of Apple's iPads are now utilizing the same design, we don't really see Apple changing this one too much between generations. If anything, we expect minor touch-ups here and there and possibly more color options.
As we know more, so will you.
iPad Air 6 display
The iPad Air is forever destined to be in the shadows of the truly great displays that grace the iPad Pro lineup. While the 11-inch iPad Pro has an LED ProMotion Liquid Retina display with buttery-smooth 120Hz refresh rate, the pricier iPad Pro 12.9-inch even has the mini-LED tech on deck, which is just as stunning as OLED panels.
Unlike the more premium iPad Pro tablets, the iPad Air 6th Gen will probably rely on a less impressive 10.9-inch 60Hz IPS LCD display, similar to the iPad Air 5th Gen. However, if we are to make any speculation, if the superb display properties of the iPad Pro tablets are to trickle down, the iPad Air 6th Gen would be the first in line to score those. Potentially, we could either see a bump to LED or ProMotion on the next iPad Air, which would make it even more appealing.
iPad Air 6 battery
Thanks to the use of M1 on the iPad Air 5th Gen, Apple reassured that it would last up to a day, and our tests showed that this is generally true. Provided that the battery unit inside the iPad Air 6th Gen doesn't increase much, we could probably expect a similarly sized and similarly lasting battery unit inside. If Apple doesn't throw in the M2 inside the iPad Air 6th Gen and continues using the M1 chip, we can definitely expect the same battery life.
iPad Air 6 features and software
By the time the iPad Air 6th Gen comes along, we should know everything there is to the upcoming iPad OS 17. Apple usually announces these at the WWDC dev summit in late Spring, and the next one will possibly take place in early June 2023.
Some of the features that might make it to iPad OS 17 are the ones that made it to iOS 16 but not iPad OS 16. For example, the iOS 16 lock screen customization is not found in iPad OS 16, and some other features are also missing from Apple's tablets. Could these be the leitmotif of iPad OS 17? We would assume so, along with improvements to Stage Manager and the overall multi-tasking capabilities of the iPad lineup.
iPad Air 6 hardware and specs
With Apple M1 and some 8GB of RAM on board, the iPad Air 5th Gen is as powerful as some MacBook Air models, so there's never really any lack of performance. Whatever you might throw at the iPad Air 5th Gen, it would crush it. Thus Apple would definitely be in its right to reserve the M1 for yet another stint with the iPad Air 6th Gen. However, now that the precedent is here and the Apple M2 silicon powers the latest iPad Pro units, it wouldn't be too outlandish to anticipate that one to make an appearance inside the iPad Air 6th Gen as well. If anything, using that chip inside the upcoming tablet would make it a super-competitive and powerful machine that would continue carrying the "iPad Pro killer" moniker.
Should I wait for iPad Air 6?
- You should wait for iPad Air 6 if you're coming from an older iPad Air or a regular iPad that's getting a bit long in the tooth. The iPad Air 5th Gen is already an excellent tablet that has pretty much everything a regular user might need, but if you've abstained from upgrading up until now, you might as well wait for the iPad 6th Gen and see what improvements that one would bring to the table.
- You should not wait for iPad Air 6 if you've recently upgraded to the iPad Air 5th Gen or you're coming from an iPad Pro upbringing. We don't expect major changes in comparison with the iPad Air 5th Gen, and the iPad Pro tablets, be it 11-inch or 12.9-inch, have a lot more going for them in terms of features and functionalities, so it wouldn't make sense to consider an iPad Air 6th Gen (unless you stumble upon an awesome discount in the future).