OLED iPad Air preview
An iPad Air with an OLED display might be four years away.
Image: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

While the first iPad Pro with an OLED display is expected any day now, iPad Air fans will have a much longer wait. Possibly until 2028. That’s what an analyst predicted, anyway.

However, this contradicts a previous report that said an OLED iPad Air would be out in 2026.

With OLED (short for organic light-emitting diode) displays, each pixel glows on its own. The result is a bright, even image with strong contrast. This type of screen looks so good, it’s already used for iPhone and Apple Watch. And numerous leaks point to an OLED iPad Pro launching in March or perhaps April.

But don’t hold you breath for the screen tech to appear in Apple’s mid-range line of tablets. “We expect the iPad Air to change to OLED in 2028,” said Kang Min-soo, a senior analyst with Omdia, according to the Korean-language site The Elec (machine translation).

Or maybe sooner?

That said, it’s possible the improved screen tech will become part of the Air product line much sooner. In late 2023, a separate report also coming out of Asia predicted an OLED iPad Air would launch in 2026.

An iPad mini with OLED will also allegedly debut at the same time.

The wait is about OLED cost

As noted, OLEDs are bright, with excellent contrast. And the panels don’t require backlights — pixels glow on their own. That will supposedly allow the 2024 iPad Pro to be 22% thinner than the current model.

For all the improvements, there’s a significant drawback: OLED panels cost more than traditional LEDs. That’s expected to push up the price of the next iPad Pro, though perhaps not as much as had been feared.

The iPad Air line sits between the Pro and “standard” iPad models. Including a high-end screen that pushes the price up too high would mean that Apple has two premium tablets and no mid-range one. So perhaps it makes sense for a four year wait before OLED comes to the Air.

[ For more curated Apple news, check out the main news page here]

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