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Technology

Everything Apple will announce at its iPad event today: iPad Pro, Air, Pencil, and more


Apple iPad event

Maria Diaz/ZDNET

For months now, we’ve heard rumors that Apple is planning to release a new OLED iPad Pro and new iPad Airs this spring, with no official word from the company as confirmation. Just a few weeks ago, Apple invited everyone to a virtual event on May 7 at 7 am PT, where we expect the company to announce the newest tablets and more.

Also: Why the iPad Mini is still the best iPad for me in 2024

Last week, Apple reported $90.8 billion in revenue for its fiscal Q2 2024. “During the quarter, we were thrilled to launch Apple Vision Pro and to show the world the potential that spatial computing unlocks,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a statement. “We’re also looking forward to an exciting product announcement next week and an incredible Worldwide Developers Conference next month.”

What is Apple’s ‘Let Loose’ event and when is it?

Apple’s ‘Let Loose’ is a virtual product launch event happening today, May 7, at 7 am PT/10 am ET. It’s expected to last about 35 minutes and will be live-streamed on Apple.com, YouTube, and via the Apple TV app. During the event, Apple is expected to announce new iPad Pro and iPad Air tablets, as well as a new Apple Pencil and a revamped Magic Keyboard. Other products may be on the docket too.


1. iPad Pro with OLED

iPad Pro 11-inch in hand

Jason Hiner/ZDNET

The iPad launch event will include a new line of iPad Pros. Although initially rumored to include Apple’s M3 chip, reports hint that the new iPad Pro may boast an M4 processor, if Apple gets ambitious.

The iPad Pro’s display is expected to use an OLED panel for the first time, resulting in visual and efficiency improvements. Like previous generations, Apple is expected to make the latest iPad Pro available in 11-inch and 12.9-inch sizes.

Aside from a sturdier aluminum Magic Keyboard, the OLED iPad Pro is said to offer a more user-friendly navigation and multitasking experience. An intuitive multitasking experience is one of many features the iPad Pro has been lacking since its 2015 launch. Although Stage Manager lets users have multiple screens open at once, the feature is lackluster and unintuitive, especially for users not accustomed to Apple’s UIs.

Also: Apple giving the iPad Pro an OLED display has an unexpected ‘smart’ benefit

There is no word on how much the new OLED iPad Pro will cost, but Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman has speculated that it will likely come with a big price increase. The current MSRPs are $799 and $1,099 for the 11- and 12.9-inch models, respectively.

2. iPad Air with a new size option

iPad Air in Blue

Kayla Solino/ZDNET

Apple is expected to announce a new iPad Air with an M2 chip. For the first time, the iPad Air could include two sizes, featuring an 11-inch or a 12.9-inch display, like the iPad Pro. Both iPad Airs are rumored to be the largest, thinnest iPad models yet.

Also: New iPad Pro may use an AI-enabled M4 chip, and the Apple Pencil 3 may have haptic feedback

According to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, the event will let Apple start cleaning up the iPad lineup. There are currently five different iPad models available. Apple will likely phase out the ninth-generation iPad next year, leaving the iPad mini, a 10.9-inch iPad, the iPad Air, and the iPad Pro.

3. A more functional Apple Pencil

Apple iPad 10th Gen Apple Pencil Dongle 2

The Apple Pencil 2 with an Apple Pencil Adapter, alongside an Apple iPad 10th Gen.

June Wan/ZDNET

The event’s graphic features an Apple Pencil, all but confirming a rumor about a third-generation model set for a May launch. Apple debuted the first Apple Pencil in 2015, the Apple Pencil 2 in 2018, and the USB-C Apple Pencil in November 2023.

Also: 6 reasons to buy an Apple Watch, according to a wearables expert

With iPadOS 17.5 hinting at a new gesture that would let users perform quick tasks by squeezing the Apple Pencil, the expectations for a third-generation stylus have only grown. The Apple Pencil 2 has a double-tap gesture that lets users switch tools but no “squeeze” gesture support.

The Apple Pencil 3 is rumored to be priced at $130, support Apple’s Find My service, and feature interchangeable magnetic tips. We’ll know exactly what the device can do when Apple hosts its first virtual event in 2024 this morning.

4. Magic Keyboard

iPad Pro with Magic Keyboard and Apple Pencil

An iPad Pro with Magic Keyboard and Apple Pencil.

Jason Hiner/ZDNET

The iPad event is also expected to include an updated version of the Magic Keyboard, expected to be more durable and feature a larger trackpad. Thanks to a new look and upgraded aluminum construction, the new Magic Keyboard is designed to make the iPad look more like a laptop than a tablet with a keyboard case.

Why would Apple host an event before WWDC?

Although Apple is hosting its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) on June 10, that event is reserved for new iOS, iPadOS, visionOS, and macOS announcements, plus Apple’s new AI strategy. Today’s Let Loose event will focus on the latest hardware offerings, with the OLED iPad Pro being the main star.

Will the new event cover iPadOS 17.5 or iPadOS 18?

While Apple typically reserves iOS and iPadOS announcements for WWDC, we might see some iPad-specific software features revealed during the Let Loose event. That said, these features will likely be part of iPadOS 17.5 or an upcoming version. We expect Apple to cover iOS 18 features, particularly those that lean heavily on AI, in June during WWDC.

Also: After 14 years, the iPad will finally get a built-in Calculator app, sources say

iOS 17.5 doesn’t have many exciting new features outside of the European Union, where iPhone users can now download apps directly from websites. Apple might still have a small surprise or two reserved to give today’s iPad launch some momentum, especially as these devices are expected to ship with iPadOS 17.5.

How do I watch Apple’s Let Loose event?

The Apple Let Loose event will be a pre-recorded video available for streaming on YouTube, Apple.com, or the Apple TV app this morning at 7 am PT/10 am ET.





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