2021 Apple iPad Air could be equipped with an 11-inch screen, Face ID and a Type-C port

2021 Apple iPad Air could be equipped with an 11-inch screen, Face ID and a Type-C port
In March, Apple introduced two new iPad Pro tablets essentially refreshing the 11-inch and 12.9-inch models released in 2018. The new premium slates are powered by the A12Z Bionic chipset which is practically the same as the A12X Bionic SoC used in the two-year-old models. Both are manufactured by TSMC using the 7nm process and employ the same octa-core configuration (four high-performance CPU cores and four energy efficient-cores) and memory. The only difference is that seven of the eight GPU cores on the A12X Bionic were activated while all eight are activated on the A12Z Bionic. Both chips have a maximum CPU clock speed of 2.49GHz.

Latest rumor calls for Apple to place USB-C port on 11-inch iPad Air


Apple also replaced the single 12MP camera on the back of the 2018 models with a second camera; this would be a 10MP ultra-wide camera. And the 2020 tablets added a LiDar time-of-flight sensor for improved AR capabilities. But the company is not done with the iPad for 2020, according to ace analyst Ming Chi-Kuo. He expects to see Apple unveil another new tablet during the second half of this year, possibly at the same event that introduces the world to the first 5G iPhone models.

Kuo expects Apple to produce a new basic iPad tablet with a larger 10.8-inch display.  That compares to the 10.2-inch display on the last basic iPad model released last September. Kuo also predicts that a 8.5-inch iPad mini will appear during the first half of next year along with an 11-inch fourth-generation iPad Air. Mac Okatara says (via 9to5Mac) that the latter could be based on the design of the 11-inch iPad Pro which means that we could see it arrive with thinner bezels. This model also might feature Face ID or an in-display version of Touch ID. The new iPad Air also is expected to sport a Type-C port making it the first non iPad Pro model to do so.


All of Apple's new tablets are surfacing during tough times for the tablet industry. During the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic in China, tablet sales got a boost from businessmen who were working from home, parents looking for a diversion for their bored children stuck inside, and students who were receiving their lessons streamed online. The resurgence of the tablet during the coronavirus outbreak was captured in a care package sent by Apple to some of its employees in China forced to stay inside; Apple sent workers in Wenzhou and Hubei  a free 10.2-inch iPad.


Research firm Canalys sees PC and tablet shipments declining 7% this year to 367.8 million units from the 395.6 million that were delivered last year. Canalys points out that among desktop, notebook, and tablet shipments, the latter relies the most on consumer spending. That is bad news according to the research firm which expects a slump in holiday demand during the fourth quarter of this year.

On a regional basis, PC and tablet shipments will fall in China 3% this year but rebound by 4% next year. Canalys expects something similar for the Asian Pacific market with a 1% decline this year followed by growth in 2021. North American tablet demand will be negatively impacted by the economic fallout from the coronavirus outbreak. PC and tablet shipments will decline 6% this year says Canalys, and if there isn't any growth in the market during the fourth quarter of 2020, consumers will stay away from the purchase of non-essential items like the Apple iPad. The firm says that growth in PC and tablet shipments won't take place on the continent until 2022 when the research firm expects to see robust growth of 4%.

Latin America is having a rough second quarter when it comes to the shipments of PC and tablets as Brazil and Mexico are behind the curve when it comes to battling COVID-19. As a result, PC and Tablet shipments should decline 16% year-over-year during the three-month period from April through June. And in the Europe, Middle East and Africa region (EMEA), Canalys sees a short-term bounce in demand during the current period that will limit the year-over-year decline in PC and tablet deliveries to -1%. The second half of this year will not be pretty with EMEA shipments expected to drop by 10% year-over-year. The research firm sees a reversal next year with 1% growth in PC and tablet shipments for 2021.

Apple reported a 22% annual increase in iPad shipments during the fiscal third quarter of 2019 which was a bit of a surprise at the time. During the fiscal fourth quarter, iPad revenue rose 16.9% year-over-year during a sluggish tablet market. During the most recent earnings report covering the fiscal second quarter of 2020, iPad revenue declined by 10.3% compared to the same quarter during the previous year.

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