iPad Air 3: release date, rumours, specs & pricing

iPad Air 3 could launch at WWDC 2016 tonight

The iPad Air is one of Apple's most popular lines, with the company claiming over 200 million tablets sold in the Air's 9.7in form factor. Fans have been clamouring for a successor to the iPad Air 2 since its launch back in 2014. 

Many were expecting the iPad Air 3 to be announced alongside the iPhone 6s in September, or the iPhone SE in March. Instead, however, Apple launched the iPad Pro in both 12.9in and 9.7in flavours.

The fact that Apple released an iPad Pro in the same 9.7in form factor as the iPad Air has led some to speculate that the company will be retiring the Air range in favour of smaller iPad Pro variants.

Apple has yet to confirm whether or not it will be adding to its iPad Air portfolio in the future. Read on to find out everything we do know about the possibility of a 2016 iPad Air 3.

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iPad Air 3 latest news

13/06/2016: The iPad Air 3 may make an appearance at WWDC this evening alongside a new Macbook Pro.

While WWDC is generally dedicated to software rather than hardware, with iOS 10, OS X 10.12 (possibly just called MacOS), and a new tvOS almost certainly making an appearance, it's not unknown for Apple to also launch new devices at the annual conference.

The iPad Air 3 has long been rumoured, with Apple fans crying out for a new version of the company's slimline tablet, so far only the 12.9in and 9.7in iPad Pros making an appearance so far. This has led to speculation that the iPad Air is now, effectively, a retired line, although the iPad Air 2 is still on sale.

If the iPad Air 3 does launch tonight, it will probably actually go on sale in a couple of months time.

You can follow along with all the news from WWDC as it happens on our dedicated page.

02/06/2016: While rumours continue to circulate about the existence of a genuine iPad Air 3, for now, we have to make do with the next best thing. The 9.7in iPad Pro is effectively the iPad Air 3 in all but name, and it makes a hell of a worthy successor to the iPad Air 2.

However, the Smart Keyboard is something of a disappointment, and it's no real rival to its main competitor, the Surface Pro 4. There's less travel distance in the keys, less force required to actuate them, and the design of the keyboard means the screen is locked to single viewing angle.

It's not quite the laptop replacement that Apple would like you to believe, then, but as a tablet, it's absolutely superb. It's fitted with a top class A9X processor - a lower-clocked version of the larger iPad Pro's model - and 2GB of RAM, meaning it's one of the fastest and most powerful tablets we've tested.

Overall, the iPad Pro 9.7 is one of the best tablets produced by Apple - or anyone else, for that matter. While the iPad Air 3 might still rear its head, we'd be perfectly happy to accept the iPad Pro 9.7 as a consolation prize.

17/05/2016: Not only is the iPad Air 3 still slated for launch, it will be arriving with a RAM upgrade, rumours suggest.

Many were expecting Apple to launch the iPad Air 3 alongside the iPhone SE earlier this year, but when the company instead unveiled a 9.7in iPad Pro, some speculated that the iPad Air line was to be quietly retired.

However, according to WCCF Tech, anonymous sources in China have indicated that a successor to the iPad Air 2 is still very much in the pipeline.

More importantly, these sources have claimed that the iPad Air 3 will finally be receiving a much-requested boost in RAM, taking it up to a 3GB allocation.

Rumours also suggest that the Air 3 will see the introduction of the A10X processor as well.

Coupled with Apple's substantial pedigree in software optimisation, these new hardware upgrades could see the iPad Air 3 being the speediest tablet Apple has ever released.

Of course, these rumours are still unconfirmed, and no launch events have been scheduled, so as always, take them with a pinch of salt. Even if they are correct, we're unlikely to see the iPad Air 3 before Autumn 2016 at the very earliest.

21/03/2016: Apple has revealed a new, smaller iPad Pro measuring three inches less than its older brother. 

The new model has a 9.7in display, compared to the 12.9in model Apple released in September 2015. The latest model features the same specs as the existing tablet, including an A9X processor, four speakers, and support for the Apple Pencil.

While it does put paid to rumours that an iPad Air 3 would launch tonight, Apple justified its decision to downsize the Pro by pointing out that it has sold 200 million 9.7in tablets, saying it is the most popular size among iPad users.

 

The new iPad Pro is the brightest tablet available, CEO Tim Cook claimed at Apple's Special Event, saying it is 25 per cent brighter than the iPad Air 2 thanks to its Oxide TFT display.

Its screen also features 'True Tone' technology that adjusts the screen's colour and light output based on its surroundings.

The A9X processor also carries support for the Apple's latest version of Siri, an Always On instalment that responds to questions beginning 'Hey, Siri'.

Its front-facing camera is the same powerful 12-megapixel one that the larger iPad Pro features, and lets you take 4k videos as well as offering True Tone flash.

The latest iPad will be available to pre-order from 24 March before shipping starts on 31 March. Prices start at $599 for the 32GB version, rising to $749 for a 128GB model, before shooting up to $899 for a massive 256GB instalment.

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