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The M3 MacBook Airs are here, but Apple hasn’t announced the OLED iPad Pro or iPad Air 6. Why not?

Reports over the weekend claimed that Apple would soon unveil new products via press releases rather than holding a special media event. One of them said Apple would launch the OLED iPad Pro, iPad Air 6, and M3 MacBook Airs this month or in early April. Another suggested Apple would share these product announcements this week.

Apple partially confirmed the latter leak on Monday when the company announced the M3 MacBook Airs. The 13-inch and 15-inch M3 MacBook Air models are available for preorder, and they’ll start shipping on Friday.

We thought Apple would announce the new iPads on Tuesday. It didn’t happen. Wednesday rolled along, and we figured the announcement was coming. We were wrong again. So, where are the 2024 iPads? Why isn’t Apple launching them alongside the M3 MacBook Airs?

The truth is that we don’t know, but we can make some educated guesses.

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Fear of cannibalization

The simplest explanation might concern product cannibalization. Apple has long marketed the iPad, especially the Pro model, as a laptop alternative. And the M3 MacBook Airs are laptops. Having the M3 iPad Pros, M2 iPad Air 6, and M3 MacBook Airs launch at the same time could hurt sales of either the iPads or the MacBooks.

Ideally, buyers would purchase a new tablet and a new notebook. So maybe Apple wants to space these devices out so each has a chance to shine. The M3 MacBook Airs are highly anticipated devices, arriving later than their MacBook Pro counterparts. They’ll get plenty of attention from reviewers in the coming days and weeks.

Apple iPad ProThe iPad Pro is not good enough to replace my MacBook. Image source: Christian de Looper for BGR

There is no point in having the OLED iPad steal the spotlight. I think that’s what would happen.

The OLED iPad Pro is rumored to deliver an incredible display experience and a thinner profile than ever. This is all possible thanks to the new OLED display tech that Apple developed for the iPad Pro. Display tech that’s not available on competing tablets. Display tech that might convince some buyers to spend extra money on a tablet.

I’m not ready to spend an arm and a leg on the OLED iPad Pro, but I am tentatively curious. I want to see what they’re about because I want to reintegrate an iPad into my overall Apple computing experience.

On that note, the M2 iPad Air refresh is equally exciting. This is an iPad Pro-grade device sans the bells and whistles you get from the Pro models. And, for the first time, the iPad Air will come in a 12.9-inch version.

There’s no telling if we’re also getting the iPad 11 and iPad mini 7 alongside the OLED iPad Pro and iPad Air 6. Most rumors only specify the last two upgrades for this spring refresh.

UPDATE: The M3 MacBook Air reviews dropped on March 7th, further cementing my belief that Apple wanted to give the new laptops ample time to shine without having to compete for attention with the exciting 2024 iPad. The original story continues below.

What if the OLED iPad Pros aren’t ready?

But if Apple wants to launch its early 2024 tablets simultaneously, I can think of another reason that doesn’t involve cannibalization worries.

It’s the OLED iPad Pro display. Recent rumors from Korea have indicated that Samsung and LG are manufacturing the OLED panels. But each company gets to work on one of the iPad Pro sizes.

Samsung Display reportedly got the initial 11-inch OLED orders, while LG will manufacture the 13-inch OLED panels that Apple needs. LG was supposedly tasked to manufacture the majority of OLED iPad Pro screens. But Apple changed its mind.

These are first-gen OLED panels, and production issues might impact yields. Apple will want to have a certain number of iPad Pro displays ready, as it’s probably targeting a specific sales figure for the launch period.

iPad Air (2022) MainApple launched the 5th-gen iPad Air in March 2022. Image source: Christian de Looper for BGR

The same report said that Samsung and LG started manufacturing the iPad Pro panels in January. Maybe Apple is still waiting for enough screens to be made so its assemblers can deliver the initial batch of iPad Pro models.

Apple will not confirm any manufacturing delays if there are any. Also, there’s an easy fix for that. Apple could unveil the iPads and give buyers an extended preorder period to compensate for any production issues.

But this gets me back to the previous problem. Apple has not merged the iPad and Mac lines because it wants you to, ideally, buy one of each product. Starting OLED iPad Pro preorders too soon could impact M3 MacBook Air sales.

All of this is speculation based on the most recent rumors detailing Apple’s plans for the new iPads and Macs. The point is we’re back to waiting. Maybe Apple will unveil the OLED iPad Pros and iPad Air 6 this week. Or perhaps we’ll have to wait until later this month for the 2024 tablets to hit stores.

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