Forget the new M2 iPad Air, this faster chip might be powering the next version

iPad Air with M2 chipset
(Image credit: Gerald Lynch / Future)

While the latest iPad Air model with M2 might have only just been released, we're already hearing rumours about the next generation. The "everyman" Apple tablet now comes in two sizes, has a spicy new M2 chip, and supports the all-new Apple Pencil Pro. And the next generation is going to be even more powerful.

This news comes via MacRumors, who caught the tip from a private Twitter/X account with a reputable history. They hinted that Apple's gearing up to stuff the next iPad Air with an M3 processor. Mind you, this comes hot on the heels of Apple throwing the tech world a curveball with the new M4 iPad Pro models.

An M3 iPad Air

According to Apple’s own marketing, the new M2 iPad Air is nearly 50% nippier than its M1 predecessor and thrice as quick as the one with the A14 Bionic. So, if you're doing the maths, that’s a lot of speed we're talking about. And an M3 iPad Air would be even faster.

There are two variants of the new M3 chip. Both come with an 8-core CPU, featuring 4 performance cores and 4 efficiency cores. On the MacBook line-ups, you add extra cores to the CPU and GPU for even more powerful chips, but it remains to be seen what the iPad options would look like. We won't be able to draw exact comparisons until the new iPads arrive, but they would be at least 20% faster than the M2 versions if the MacBook performance is anything to go by.

But how likely is it that Apple would jump to an M3 iPad Air next? Assuming Apple reverts to updating the iPad range every year, this might be the most likely case. With the Pro models sporting an M4 chipset, that suggests Apple wants to keep them two generations apart. So an M5 iPad Pro next year would leave us with an M3 iPad Air. Since not every Mac has an M3 option yet, we'd expect there to be more options with this processor. Of course, we'll have to wait for Apple to release the devices to know for sure.

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Connor Jewiss

Connor is a technology writer and editor, with a byline on multiple platforms. He has been writing for around seven years now across the web and in print too. Connor has experience on most major platforms, though does hold a place in his heart for macOS, iOS/iPadOS, electric vehicles, and smartphone tech.