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Big changes are coming to Apple's iPad this spring

Big changes are coming to Apple's iPad this spring

January 28, 2016

It looks like Apple is gearing up for a busy spring. From the arrival of the “iPad Air 3,” to the introduction of iOS 9.3, the next few months should be important ones for tablet owners.

iPad Air 3

The next 9.7-inch iPad could arrive in March, alongside the long-rumored “iPhone 5se.” The iPad Air 3 may come equipped with a 4K screen, as well as 4GB of RAM, according to Digitimes. The next-generation tablet could also feature four speakers and a rear-facing flash.

Current iPad lineup

Current iPad lineup

The iPad Air was last updated in September 2014 with the release of the second-generation model. Since then, Apple has introduced the 12.9-inch iPad Pro and 7.9-inch iPad mini 4.

iPad Pro

Speaking of the iPad Pro, German developer Stefan Wolfrum found a great new feature in iOS 9.3 beta 2. With the update, which was released to developers earlier this week, it’s now possible for the iPad Pro’s Smart Connector to update firmware for accessories. Until now, the only way to update items such as Bluetooth keyboards has been to connect them to a Mac.

Wolfrum found the tweak after installing iOS 9.3 beta 2 on his iPad Pro and attaching his Logitech Create keyboard case. Upon doing so, he was asked to update the keyboard’s firmware.


I use a Logitech Create keyboard case with my iPad Pro and can confirm that the accessory firmware is available with iOS 9.3 beta 2. It’s also very useful. Once installed, the update removes the long-criticized lag and dropped keystrokes associated with the keyboard.

Other iOS 9.3 features include Night Shift, Notes app privacy, News app improvements, and more.

Adding this together

I have little doubt that Apple will release a new iPad Air in March. However, it’s highly unlikely the iPad Air 3 will feature a 4K display or rear-facing flash. These options aren’t available on the pricier iPad Pro. I don’t think Apple would want to tick off iPad Pro owners who only received their tablets in November.

I do expect the new iPad Air, however, to offer Apple Pencil support and come with a Smart Connector. Hence, one of the reasons Apple is allowing developers to test firmware updates in iOS 9.3 beta 2.

For more news, see: Microsoft launches News Pro to bring ‘hyper-relevant news for your work,’ Check out iCloud Photo Library support in the Apple TV beta, and You’re going to love Apple’s Night Shift mode in iOS 9.3.

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