iPad Air 5 is expected to launch with a powerful M1 chip, 5G networking support, 8GB RAM, and 128GB base storage. The model of the new iPad Air is codename J408, and will be announced later today.
iPad Air 5 features revealed just before official announcement
M1 chip ships in configurations of up to 8-core CPU and 8-core GPU. However, the entry-level MacBook Air features a 7-core CPU variant, so there is a possibility that Apple could use the same chip in the iPad Air.
As the iPad Air 5 could get an M1 chip, this would mean that it will get a base memory of 8GB, which is also what M1 Macs ship with. It is unclear if the memory capacity would increase with expensive tiers, but we would not bet on it.
The base storage of iPad Air 5 will also be bumped up to 128G8, from the paltry 64GB that it has been selling with. However, the starting price will remain $599, which is good news for users looking to upgrade.
Other expected features include Center Stage support for the front-facing camera. It has also been reported that the new iPad Air will ship in purple color. The display is expected to still be LCD instead of the previously rumored OLED technology or the higher-end mini-LED that is on the 12.9-inch iPad Pro. This also rules out the possibility of 120hz ProMotion support however, it would be a pleasant surprise if Apple makes it happen.
It had been previously reported that iPad Air 5 would feature an A15 Bionic chip, that is currently shipping in iPhone 13 and iPad mini 6. It is unclear why Apple wants to put an M1 chip in a product like an iPad Air. Perhaps Apple has some features planned for larger-screen iPads, possibly with iPadOS 16, which might require powerful M1 chips.
If the iPad Air indeed ships with an M1 chip, this would make it the cheapest product that ships with an M-series processor. The current cheapest product is the M1 Mac mini which starts from $699. The iPad Air could undercut it with a starting price of $599.
Combined with 128GB base storage, 8GB memory, and an M1 chip, the iPad Air could become an excellent value for most users. Now it is up to iPadOS 16 to catch up and take full advantage of the power on offer.