Apple is expected to reveal a new iPad mini and an upgrade to the entry-level, education-focused iPad 9.7 at some point in the next few months.

We've covered off what we're expecting from the iPad mini 5 in a separate feature but here are all the rumours surrounding the new, cheaper iPad.

Apple iPad 2019 price and release date

  • End of March 2019
  • Perhaps 26 March?

The Apple iPad 9.7 was revealed on 27 March 2018, while the 2017 model was announced on 21 March. It is therefore expected that the 2019 model of the cheaper iPad will be announced towards the end of March 2019. Digitimes claims the first half of this year, which fits with the typical cycle.

There is no official word on an iPad event as yet, though Apple has previously been known to opt for a Tuesday or Wednesday, followed by availability at the end of that week. 

An educated guess would therefore have us place our bets on 26 March, with pre-orders or availability kicking off on 29 March. This is simply based on previous timelines though and a report has claimed availability will start on 29 March with pre-orders kicking off on 22 March. That would likely place the event on 19 March, a week earlier than what we think.  

In terms of price, we expect the new iPad to remain around the same price as the 2018 model. The current iPad 9.7 starts at £319 for the 32GB model, moving up to £409 for the 128GB model.

New iPad design

  • Redesigned body
  • No Touch ID?
  • Premium aluminium build likely 

The current iPad 9.7 features a similar design to what many have come to expect from the iPad. At least until the latest iPad Pro models were revealed in October 2018. It has a slim, aluminium body with rounded edges and a large Apple logo on the centre of the rear.

On the front, the 9.7-inch screen is surrounded by reasonably large bezels, coupled with Touch ID at the bottom and a front-facing camera at the top. Rumour has it the new iPad 2019 will make a few changes though.

It's been claimed we might see a redesigned body, allowing for a larger display, presumably within the same footprint. Currently, leaks are thin on the ground but we'd hope to see the new iPad take some design characteristics from the iPad Pro 11 - perhaps moving to those flatter, squarer edges with reduced bezels around the screen?

We expect it to stick with two-speaker audio though and we don't expect to see the Smart Connector on the rear of the new iPad. Some things will naturally be reserved for the flagship iPad Pro line.

New iPad display

  • 10-inch screen, 264ppi expected
  • Compatible with Apple Pencil 2

Rumour has it the new iPad will feature a 10-inch display. This would mean a slight increase from the 9.7-inches found on last year's iPad 9.7 but it would still be smaller than the 11-inch iPad Pro.

The current entry-level iPad has a Retina display with a 2048 x 1536 resolution, offering a pixel density of 264ppi. Given this is the same pixel density as the iPad Pro 11, we don't expect the new iPad to increase its resolution by much. It is likely that it will increase just enough to ensure a 264ppi on a 10-inch screen - assuming the size increase is accurate. Otherwise, we expect the same screen as the current model.

We expect technologies like ProMotion and True Tone, both of which can be found on the iPad Pro line, to remain absent again for the new iPad 2019 in order to keep costs down. We'd love to see a fully laminated display though, or at least an anti-reflective coating.

It's been claimed the new iPad will be compatible with Apple Pencil 2 though. The 2018 iPad offers support for the original Apple Pencil, but not the latest Pencil 2 announced with the new iPad Pro line. Making the new model compatible with the latest Pencil makes complete sense, though it is not yet clear whether the new iPad's design will feature a magnetised edge to accommodate the Pencil as seamlessly as the iPad Pro.

iPad 2019 hardware

  • New processor likely
  • Face ID?
  • USB Type-C?
  • New cameras?

It's never possible to guarantee a design update or display improvements with upgraded devices, but you can almost certainly guarantee a processor upgrade.

The iPad 9.7 (2018) has the A10 Fusion Chip under its hood. While Apple might not offer the same A12X Bionic chip with Neural Engine as the iPad Pro 11, it will no doubt increase the speed and performance of the new iPad with a new processor. Given the iPhone XR has the same chip as the iPhone XS, perhaps Apple will apply the same logic for the iPad line up though?

It wouldn't be too surprising to see a switch to Face ID over Touch ID too. This would allow for the extra 0.3-inches of display within the same footprint as the current model if Apple is planning to increase the new iPad to a 10-inch screen.

We'd also expect some camera improvements, though this may be in software terms rather than hardware. The current model has a 1.2-megapixel front camera compared to the iPad Pro 11's 7-megapixel snapper though, so it's possible Apple will at least update the front camera, even if it keeps the current 8-megapixel rear camera.

It is also possible the iPad 2019 might switch to USB Type-C over Lightning. Apple switched to USB Type-C for the latest iPad Pro models so it would seem like an odd move to keep the entry-level tablet as Lightning, though it's certainly not a guarantee. The next Apple iPhone is rumoured to remain as Lightning after all.

We will update this feature as soon as we hear any more speculation surrounding the new iPad 2019.