There aren’t a lot of rumors out there about a potential iPad (2020). Most of the rumors focus on the supposedly upcoming iPad Air 4, rather than a new entry-level model. But there are some guesses that we might be able to make about what we’ll see when Apple’s next low-cost iPad launches, which could happen as soon as next week.

The short list

  • Release date: September 18 (speculated)
  • Price: $329 (speculated)
  • New features: A12 Bionic processor, slightly larger display (speculated)
  • Colors: Space Gray, Silver, Gold (speculated)

A new brain

A processor bump for the entry-level iPad seems likely, given that Apple skipped doing so last year. Currently, the iPad is powered by the solid, but aging, A10 system-on-a-chip. That silicon is now four years old, and it’s time for a bump.

I think Apple will go with the A12 here. Currently powering the iPad Air 3 and iPad mini 5, the A12 Bionic is still a reliable chip, and only two years old. The iPad (2020) isn’t going to be your multitasking, productivity powerhouse, so it doesn’t need the latest and greatest. That’s how it’s $329 in the first place.

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The A12 should be a solid processor if you’re going to hold onto the iPad for a few years and will be the perfect power boost for the iPad while still allowing Apple to keep it at $329.

A (slightly) bigger display

A slightly larger display is on my list for something that could happen with the iPad (2020). While there was just an increase from 9.7 inches to 10.2 inches last year, I think that it’s possible that Apple could bump it once again.

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The iPad Air is reportedly getting a major redesign, including a new screen size of 10.8 inches (up 0.3 inches from the current iPad Air). But what is the current iPad Air? It’s a 10.5-inch iPad (only 0.3 inches larger than the current standard iPad) with a more traditional chin-and-forehead design, a Touch ID Home button, all running on an A12 system-on-a-chip.

And what is the new iPad likely to be, assuming the physical dimensions remain unchanged? A 10.2-inch iPad with a more traditional chin-and-forehead design, a Touch ID Home button, all of it running on an A12 system-on-a-chip.

What I see as a likely scenario is that Apple stops manufacturing the 10.2-inch iPad and keeps manufacturing the 10.5-inch iPad Air, just under a different name and at a lower price. If I’m correct, this could also see a laminated display come to the $329 iPad for the first time.

Keeping expectations in check

The entry-level iPad is never a technological powerhouse. It’s just a more affordable iPad; yesterday’s tech at a lower price. But while it might be slower, or be missing some of the features of the more advanced iPads, like USB-C or Face ID, the entry-level iPad is still going to be a very capable tablet for most people.

If you own the iPad 2018 or even 2019, the iPad 2020 is going to be worth a look for you. If it adopts the A12 as rumored, then it will be two whole processor generations ahead of the current iPads, and on par with the iPad Air 3.

Price

Even if the iPad 2020 is essentially a repackaged iPad Air 3, I don’t see Apple pushing up the starting price higher than it already is. I expect the iPad to start at $329 once again.

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What I would love is for Apple actually to drop the price of the iPad. Connected devices are proving more important than ever these days, as are devices that are provided by an institution but that are also not shared with anyone else. As kids return to school, this second point has become particularly important. By offering the iPad at an even lower price, Apple could make some real headway in the education market against, for instance, Chromebooks.

Release date

I’d expect to see the iPad 2020 at Apple’s event on September 15. The current iPad debuted at this time of year in 2019, and I see no reason that Apple shouldn’t follow suit with its successor this year. It could very well launch alongside the iPad Air 4 during the event.

I would expect the iPad 2020 to either be on sale immediately after the event or next Friday, September 18.

Apple event time!

The next Apple event is almost here. New iPads are expected, along with Apple Watches, and Apple may just have a curveball or two for us to get the fall device launch season underway.

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