Apple iPad Air (2024): release date, price, M2 specs, new sizes and everything else you need to know

Two iPads floating on a blue gradient background
(Image credit: Apple)

Apple has just held its 'Let Loose' event and, as predicted, it was a big one for iPads. While the tantalising new OLED display touting iPad Pro will likely be the apple of most people's eyes, the iPad Air also received a noteworthy upgrade – with enhancements to the performance, design and audio specs that will make it a tempting tablet for those who don't want to spend Pro-level money.

So what's new for the 2024 iPad Air? Here's everything you need to know. 

iPad Air (2024) release date

In true Apple fashion, there's no time to wait when it comes to getting your hands on these new tablets. Pre-orders are available right this second, and they'll begin shipping next week – the 15th of May to be exact. 

iPad Air (2024) pricing

Four iPads in a row on a blue gradient background

(Image credit: Apple)

The big news this year is that, for the first time ever, the iPad Air now comes in two sizes – 11 inches and 13 inches. This means pricing is divided into two sizes, four storage specifications and whether you want a wi-fi or 5G-enabled version. 

The full iPad Air (2024) pricing structure is as follows, starting with the 11-inch model:

Swipe to scroll horizontally
iPad Air (2024) 11-inch pricing
Row 0 - Cell 0 Wi-FiWi-Fi + Cellular
128GB£599 / $599 / AU$999£749 / $749 / AU$1249
256GB£699 / $699 / AU$1179£849 / $849 / AU$1429
512GB£899 / $899 / AU$1529£1049 / $1049 / AU$1779
1TB£1099 / $1099 / AU$1879£1249 / $1249 / AU$2129

And here is how much the 13-inch model costs:

Swipe to scroll horizontally
iPad Air (2024) 13-inch pricing
Row 0 - Cell 0 Wi-FiWi-Fi + Cellular
128GB£799 / $799 / AU$1299£949 / $949 / AU$1549
256GB£899 / $899 / AU$1479£1049 / $1049 / AU$1729
512GB£1099 / $1099 / AU$1829£1249 / $1249 / AU$2079
1TB£1299 / $1299 / AU$2179£1449 / $1449 / AU$2429

While we don't have a previous 13-inch iPad Air for reference, the 11-inch Air is ever so slightly more expensive than the previous 5th Generation model in the UK and Australia. The price has gone up by £30 and AU$70 respectively, whereas the price appears to remain consistent with last year's model in the US.

iPad Air (2024) design

A view of the iPad's top edge with a centralised camera with bookshelves in the background

(Image credit: Apple)

On the outside, the new iPad Air looks rather similar to the model it's replacing. It comes in four colours – Space Grey, Starlight (a silver finish with a hint of gold), Blue and Purple – which are very similar to the finishes of the 2022 model. The Blue and Purple hues are a touch more pastel, while Pink is dropped from the lineup. 

As mentioned previously, the biggest design update is the new screen sizes. The standard model is now 11 inches (a very minor jump up from 10.9 inches on the previous model), and there is now a larger 13-inch model if you want a tablet with more screen real estate. The larger size is certainly exciting news to us, as it's a bigger display for watching movies, however digital artists, video editors and "prosumers" should also get a kick from this expanded canvas.  

Connections and buttons all look like business as usual, with a USB-C socket on the bottom edge, a volume rocker on the side and a power button that doubles as a Touch ID sensor on the top. Face ID hasn't made its way down to the Air from the Pro quite yet, and sadly (though unsurprisingly) the headphone jack hasn't made a triumphant return either.

There is a major improvement in one aspect though, and that's the front-facing camera placement. It's now in the same spot as the iPad 10th Generation, meaning you can hold your iPad in the more comfortable and convenient landscape orientation for video calls without having to awkwardly look off to the side to make eye contact with the camera. 

iPad Air (2024) features

A top down view of a person drawing on an iPad display with a document open on the left hand side

(Image credit: Apple)

Apple has juiced this iPad up with a new processor, namely its in-house developed M2 chip. This processor was last featured in Apple's previous generation of Mac laptops, desktops and all-in-one computers, and now it has trickled down to the iPad Air. It's not quite as powerful as the M4 that features in the new iPad Pro, nor the M3 that can be found across Apple's current range of laptops and computers, but it's an upgrade over the M1 of the current Air nonetheless. 

In fact, it is quite a large upgrade according to Apple, as it claims the M2-equipped Air is 50 per cent faster than the current M1 Air – which is a powerful tablet in its own right. This makes the new iPad Air powerful enough to play console-quality titles such as Assassin's Creed: Mirage, and it can use a suite of professional creative apps for photo and video editing too. 

Those apps, games and projects will take up a lot of storage though, so you'll be pleased to hear that Apple has doubled the starting storage from 64GB to 128GB. It's also available in 256GB, 512GB and 1TB configurations, plus you can connect an external storage drive to the Air via the USB-C socket. The new iPad Air is also compatible with Apple's current range of accessories, including the Apple Pencil (USB-C) and Magic Keyboard, as well as the newly announced Apple Pencil Pro.

iPad Air (2024) display

Apple iPad Air (6th Generation) displaying a colourful image of a man in a field

(Image credit: Apple)

While there were murmurs of the Mini LED display from yesteryear's iPad Pro being repurposed for the Air, sadly these rumours haven't come to fruition. It looks like Apple has outfitted the Air with the same IPS Liquid Retina display as its predecessor. On the plus side, the iPad Air (2022) was a top-notch tablet for video consumption, and it even bagged itself a What Hi-Fi? Award, but an upgrade would have been a nice touch to usher in a new era of iPad Air. 

The 11-inch Air appears to feature an identical 2360 x 1640 display, while the 13-inch has a 2732 x 2048 screen; although both sizes feature an identical 264ppi pixel density, which is the same as the 5th Generation Air too. Interestingly, the 13-inch model is apparently 100 nits brighter than the 11-inch model at 600 nits, whereas the smaller Air is rated at 500 nits. Neither model includes the 120Hz Pro Motion technology of the iPad Pro though. 

What they do include is Dolby Vision HDR support, which is ideal for watching content on Disney Plus, Netflix or Apple TV+, as well as Apple's True Tone display technology which shifts the display's colour temperature based on ambient lighting conditions. 

If picture performance on these new iPad Airs is anything like the 5th Generation model, then we could be in for another exceptional portable movie-watching device; although we'll have to wait until our review samples arrive before making that judgement.  

iPad Air (2024) audio

An iPad on a video call with a grid of people, on the backdrop of a library

(Image credit: Apple)

While Apple doesn't usually make a fuss about how its products sound (aside from its AirPods and HomePod products, of course), the iPad Air is touted to get an upgraded speaker system with this new generation. The 6th Generation iPad Airs include landscape stereo speakers with support for Apple's immersive spatial audio format and Apple singles out the 13-inch model for better bass reproduction. It claims the larger Air has "double the bass" (of what we assume the 11-inch is capable of), for better low-end effects. 

Headphone audio didn't get a mention though, so we assume it'll be a similar affair to last year. If you're going wired, then you'll either need a pair of USB-C cans or in-ears, a USB-C to 3.5mm jack adapter, or you can of course go wireless via Bluetooth if you prefer.

iPad Air (2024) early verdict

Two iPads floating on a blue gradient background

(Image credit: Apple)

It's far too early to pass judgement on these new tablets for now, but we can begin to get a grasp of how we feel about them. While the rise in price isn't a welcome sight (even if it is fairly minor), everything else looks to be in order.

While this doesn't appear to be a grand departure from the existing Air, aside from the new size option of course, the 6th Generation model appears to be making some welcome under-the-hood improvements to make performance even smoother. Throw in a relocated camera, upgraded base storage and better bass on the larger size, and we have ourselves another solid looking iPad. That being said, we're eagerly awaiting putting the new Air through our rigorous testing process when our review unit arrives. 


Read our iPad Pro 12.9 (2022) review

And check out our picks for the best iPads

Lewis Empson
Staff Writer

Lewis Empson is a Staff Writer on What Hi-Fi?. He was previously Gaming and Digital editor for Cardiff University's 'Quench Magazine', Lewis graduated in 2021 and has since worked on a selection of lifestyle magazines and regional newspapers. Outside of work, he enjoys gaming, gigs and regular cinema trips.