iPad: 5 hardware changes coming to Apple's tablet

Apple's tablet is set to receive some major updates. Here's what's rumored to be in store.

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New screen sizes

What it is: Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, in a note seen by MacRumors, expects Apple to launch a 10.8-inch iPad later this year, followed by an 8.5-inch iPad Mini in 2021.

Why it's cool: The upgrades could add some welcome extra screen real estate to the 10.2-inch iPad (or 10.5-inch iPad Air, it's unclear) and the 7.9-inch iPad Mini.

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Mini-LED iPad Pro

What it is: A DigiTimes report claims Apple may release a mini-LED iPad Pro over the next 18 months.

Why it's cool: Mini-LED improves on current LED by using much smaller backlights, enabling more dramatic shifts in brightness between areas of the screen. This should lead to a much more impressive image. It's not to be confused with OLED or the upcoming micro-LED, which can switch individual pixels off for perfect blacks.

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Apple Pencil changes

What it is: A June rumor claimed Apple will update its Pencil stylus with a new black option.

Why it's cool: Apple's upcoming iPadOS 14 update will enable Apple Pencil owners to handwrite into text entry fields instead of using the keyboards. Paired with upcoming hardware changes, it could make the Pencil a highly-desirable accessory.

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USB-C iPad Air

What it is: A new version of the iPad Air could feature USB-C, similar to the iPad Pro, instead of the current Lightning connector. It could also use Face ID authentication instead of Touch ID, and support for the second-generation Apple Pencil.

Why it's cool: This move would bring some of the biggest features from the iPad Pro to the iPad Air. With the Air priced at $499, it would make for a much more affordable entry-level laptop replacement.

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What it is: A DigiTimes report claimed Apple plans to roll out support for 5G to its iPad lineup.

Why it's cool: 5G could help the iPad compete with the MacBook in terms of offering a laptop replacement, with super-fast connectivity anywhere with signal.

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