When will the iPad 2021 be released?
iPads aren’t quite a steady in their release dates are iPhones. In recent years, Apple has moved around the time when it updates the entry-level iPad, as you can see from the release dates below:
- iPad 9.7in (2017) – March 2017
- iPad 9.7in (2018) – March 2018
- iPad 10.2in (2019) – September 2019
- iPad 10.2in (2020) – September 2020
Rumours originating from Chinese tech site cnBeta are now suggesting that Apple could be planning to return to the March schedule, with the iPad 9th generation possibly arriving alongside a new iPad Pro in the first quarter of 2021.
This would be quite a surprise, with Apple only having introduced the iPad 10.2in (2020) a few months ago, so we'd take it with a pinch of salt.
How much will the iPad 2021 cost?
Pricing has been reasonably consistent for the budget iPad, with Apple sticking around the £300-£350 ($300-$350) mark. Here’s how the last few models have lined up:
- iPad 9.7in (2017) - £339/$339
- iPad 9.7in (2018) – £319/$319
- iPad 10.2in (2019) – £349/$329
- iPad 10.2in (2020) - £329/$329
Chinese site cnBeta suggests that Apple may even drop the price down lower with the 2021 model, stating that the US pricing could begin at $299. If this holds true, then it would certainly be a bargain that many would find hard to resist. Otherwise, it seems likely that Apple will hold the 2020 price for 2021.
Apple could also be considering an upgrade to its other budget-friendly tablet, with rumours of an Apple iPad Mini 6 beginning to circulate. At this point it seems unlikely that it will arrive in the suspected March 2021 window marked for the iPad 2021, but the Mini has proven very unpredictable in the past.
What new features will Apple bring to the iPad 2021?
The strongest rumours seem to be around which processor Apple chooses to fit in the iPad 2021. Moving from the A12 in the iPad 10.2in (2020) it’s expected that the new iPad 2021 will come with an A13 Bionic chip, which also appears in the iPhone 11 and the iPhone SE (2020).
An increase in display size is also expected, with the new 2021 model growing to 10.5in rather than the 10.2in dimensions of its predecessor. This actually makes a lot of sense, as Apple replaced the iPad Air (3rd Generation) with the new iPad Air (4th Generation) which featured a larger 10.9in display and removed the Home button.
With Apple’s history of reusing parts from previous models to upgrade its cheaper products, moving the entry-level iPad into the chassis of the iPad Air (3rd Generation) would give it a welcome boost in features while not costing Apple any extra in retooling or design. Plus, it retains the Touch ID feature that will make it familiar and affordable, as opposed to using the new power button on the iPad Air (4th Generation) or the Face ID of the iPad Pros.
A change to the new format would also bring a slight reduction in weight, around 34g, and slim the device by 1.4mm.
That's the suggestion from Macotakara, paraphrasing a Chinese supplier, who suggests that the new iPad will be based on the design of the older iPad Air.
However, despite the obvious benefits to using the exact same chassis as the older iPad Air, the source claims that the iPad will stick to the 10.2in display, not the 10.5in display of the third-gen iPad Air. Macotakara doesn't have the best track record for what it's worth, so take that one with a pinch of salt.
There are no details yet on cameras or whether the display will make the step up to True Tone, but we’ll keep updating this feature as more details become available. In the meantime, check out our iPad buying guide so you can see what any new model will have to beat.