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New iPad Air 3 release date & new features rumours

Christopher Minasians | June 24, 2016
iPad Air 3 concept video is everything the iPad Pro 9.7in should've been and more

iPad Air 3 specs rumours: No 3D Touch

Ming-Chi Kuo, one of the most famous Apple pundits out there, predicted that 3D Touch wouldn't make an appearance in the iPad Pro 9.7in, and this proved correct.

iPad Air 3 release date rumours: No 3D Touch

In a research paper, Kuo predicted that the Pro (although referred to under another name) would launch in the first half of 2016 but wouldn't get the marquee feature from the flagship iPhones.

In the past, Apple has frequently introduced a new feature on the iPhone line and then dispersed it through other products - Retina displays, Siri, Touch ID - and plenty of analysts have made the obvious logical leap of assuming that 3D Touch will migrate to iPad at some point. Ming-Chi Kuo was the most authoritative voice to doubt this. It would seem strange to allow this popular if niche feature to appear on the iPad Air 3 if it isn't on the iPad Pro, so we assume 3D on iPad will have to wait for a while longer.

iPad Air 3 specs rumours: Screen resolution

Back in 2014, we wondered if the iPad Air 2 might get a screen upgrade from the Air 1, possibly gaining the Retina HD designation given to the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. But its display is largely the same, with the same resolution and size. (One screen modification Apple did talk about was an anti-reflective coating: a nice - if unglamorous - upgrade.) And this idea has been floated again this year.

Back in September 2015 the Chinese-language site MyDrivers (link to translation) made some grand claims about the iPad Air 3's specifications. Most eye-catching among these is the unexpected prediction that Apple will increase the resolution and therefore pixel density of the screen on its next mid-size iPad.

MyDrivers reckons the Air 3 will get a bump up to 401 pixels per inch (matching the iPhone 6s Plus), which translates on a 9.7-inch screen into a resolution of 3112x2334. (This compares to 2048x1536 at 264ppi on both the Air 1 and Air 2.) We confirmed this figure using the handy PixelDensityCalculator website.

Pixel density is a measure of how tightly pixels are packed on a screen, and increasing it so much would result in an appreciably sharper screen - even though Apple used to maintain that 264ppi was more than enough on devices of this form factor.

Moving up to 401ppi on the Air 3 would be a major step forward for Apple, which has previously applied its Retina marketing label to 9.7-inch tablets rated at 264ppi on the basis that they are held further away from the eye than smartphones or even mini tablets (the Retina-rated mini 2 and mini 4 both have a pixel density of 326ppi, matching the non-Plus iPhones).

 

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