Entry-Level iPad With 10.5-Inch Display and A13 Chip Rumored for Spring 2021
The report, spotted by iMore, speculates that the ninth-generation iPad will be similar to the current eighth-generation iPad, but with a number of minor improvements. The ninth-generation iPad is said to have a larger, 10.5-inch LED display, the A13 Bionic chip, 4GB of RAM, and a thinner, lighter design. It will reportedly still have a Home Button with Touch ID and the Lightning port.
It would be possible to achieve a larger 10.5-inch display and thinner design by reusing the chassis and front panel of the third-generation iPad Air. This seems highly plausible because Apple tends to trickle designs down its iPad lineup. For example, the design of the first-generation iPad Air came to the fifth-generation iPad, the design of the 10.5-inch iPad Pro came to the third-generation iPad Air, and the design of the 11-inch iPad Pro came to the fourth-generation iPad Air.
The third-generation iPad Air is 0.07 pounds lighter and 1.4mm thinner than the eighth-generation iPad, has a 10.5-inch display, and retains the Lightning port and Home Button, so it clearly meets the remit of what is expected from the ninth-generation iPad. Reusing this design would also allow Apple to keep costs down for the lower price point of the iPad.
These rumored specifications would also offer some clear upgrades over the current model, while not cannibalizing the mid-range fourth-generation iPad Air, which has a 10.9-inch display, the A14 chip, Touch ID integrated into the Power Button, and USB-C.
However, it would be peculiar for Apple to update its entry-level iPad so soon after the eighth-generation model was released. Apple unveiled the eighth-generation as recently as September with the A12 Bionic chip. Yet this was a very minor update, with only the chip being upgraded from the A10 Fusion to the A12 Bionic. No other specs were changed. So while this ninth-generation iPad is rumored to be released sooner than expected, it is perhaps made more likely by the fact that the previous update was so minor.
The report says that the ninth-generation iPad may start at a slightly lower $299 price point with storage configurations starting at 64GB, which is double that of the current-generation.