Apple’s iPad 9.7-inch was one of the best tablets around when it launched in March 2018, and it’s still a strong option today if you’re looking to get an excellent amount of bang for your buck — as evidenced by its inclusion as one of our Best Products of 2018.
Unfortunately, the iPad’s design has been superseded by the bezel-less design of the new iPad Pro range, and even though the iPad 9.7 is strong, it suffers from a severe case of bezel-itis. But there’s no need to worry, iPad lovers. The same rumor mill that whispered of the iPad Mini 5 also mentioned a new iPad is in the works — and though a new iPad Mini is still uncertain, a redesigned basic iPad seems all but certain. It seems likely 2019 will see a brand-new version of Apple’s cheapest iPad.
Last year’s iPad Pro ditched the headphone jack, fuelling speculation Apple would follow suit on its cheaper iPads. Thankfully for fans of wires, the latest rumors say the iPad 2019 will pack the jack. According to sources speaking to supply chain blog Macotakara, the iPad 2019 will feature a 3.5mm headphone jack and will also still feature Touch ID.
These new rumors cast some doubts on previous wisdom that this year’s iPad would see a bezel-banishing redesign. If the reports from Macotakara are true, then the inclusion of both Touch ID and the headphone jack would imply that not much has changed from last year’s iPad.
Previous rumors said 2019’s iPad would be rocking a larger 10-inch display within a narrower frame — which we took to confirm a bezel-less design on the same lines as the 2018 iPad Pro. However, with the inclusion of a fingerprint sensor that seems less likely. It’s possible the high cost of implementing Face ID instead of Touch ID may have put Apple off upgrading the basic iPad’s looks for at least another year. Doubt has also been cast on the supposed 10-inch screen on the iPad 2019. Macotakara reports suppliers are split on whether the iPad will use a 9.7-inch or 10-inch display.
A previous report also claims Apple is looking to reduce costs on the iPad 2019 by changing manufacturers and moving to cheaper South Korean LED displays. As the iPad is already one of Apple’s cheapest lines, it remains to be seen whether this would reduce the cost of the iPad 2019 significantly, though an iPad under $300 would be nice.
Performance upgrades seem likely, with the A11 Bionic processor likely to be included. Apple iPad range tends to lag behind the iPhone range in processors, and with the expected low-cost nature of this iPad, the A11 Bionic seems likely.
Release date and price
We expect Apple will continue to offer the iPad for under $400. Last year’s iPad came in at $330, though price rises aren’t outside the realms of possibility.
We also expect to see it launch very soon — March 2019. The last two iPad models both launched in March of their respective years, and it’s probable Apple will stick to this tried-and-tested schedule.
Updated on March 11, 2019: The iPad 2019 may still have a headphone jack and Touch ID.