- The new iPad Air scheduled to launch in the second half of 2020 will reportedly replace its Lightning connector with a USB-C port for the very first time.
- Previously, the iPad Pro was the only iPad line with a USB-C connector.
- This could be an indication that Apple is moving away from Lightning connectors on more of its mobile devices — perhaps even iPhones.
- Apple is expected to debut a new iPad Air in 2H 2020, and a new iPad mini in 1H 2021.
Earlier this year, Apple revealed a new iPad Pro model with trackpad support and a new LiDAR Scanner. Despite the chaos caused by the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic, this likely won’t be the last new iPad model Apple debuts in 2020. In a note, last month, TFI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claimed Apple would release a 10.8-inch iPad in the second half of this year, while a 9-inch iPad mini is slated to arrive in the first half of 2021.
Kuo didn’t specify the type of iPad that Apple would launch later this year, but based on a new report from Japanese supply chain blog Macotakara, it seems reasonable to assume that the new model will be the fourth-generation iPad Air. The report also suggested that a major change will be coming to the new iPad Air.
Supply chain sources tell Macotakara that the 4th-gen iPad Air will replace its Lightning connector with a USB-C port, as the iPad Pro did not long ago. This would mark the first instance of any iPads other than the Pro ditching Lightning in favor of USB-C. Meanwhile, the iPad mini will apparently stick with Lightning for at least one more generation. The report also says that the new iPad Air will be “developed based on” the 11-inch iPad Pro, but then fails to offer any additional details. It’s possible that this could be referring to the updated design of the tablet.
The next iPad Air has been the subject of several rumors and reports in recent months. In March, the fairly reliable Twitter account @L0vetodream claimed that the 4th-gen iPad Air would have a full-screen design without a notch, a Mini LED display, and Touch ID under the screen with no Face ID to speak of. The user’s track record is solid enough that it’s worth taking these tweets with more than a grain of salt.
Aside from the myriad iPad models currently in development, Apple is also preparing to launch four iPhone models this fall, all of which are expected to feature OLED displays and 5G support. Just days ago, we learned that the 6.1-inch iPhone models are likely to enter production ahead of the 5.4-inch and 6.7-inch models due to touch modules that need to be outsourced. The report also suggested that the iPhone 12 will launch in October, which might also give us some guidance as to when Apple will debut its new iPad Air model.
Of note, all of Apple’s iPhone models this year are expected to feature Lightning ports, but Kuo said last year that Apple may be working on a portless iPhone set to debut in 2021. Additional reports since then have reaffirmed Kuo’s leak, further suggesting that Apple could be phasing out its proprietary Lightning port.