Leaked Renders Unveil Apple's Unexpected Design Selection for the 12.9-inch iPad Air

The rumor that Apple plans to launch an oversized version of its mid-range iPad Air tablet (widely reported back in October, then again in December) just got another boost, with the leak of CAD renders of the device’s design. Published Saturday by 91mobiles, the renders are alleged to have been “shared by industry sources” and purport to show what the new Air will look like from eight different angles. It’s important to note, however, that these are purely digital renders rather than images of actual devices (or even pre-release prototypes), and the final design could be different: 91mobiles itself says only that the renders “give us an idea on the possible design.”

The first thing you’ll notice about the renders is how similar they are to existing Air designs–other than being bigger, of course. Most surprisingly, the front-facing camera remains on the short edge, rather than being moved to the long edge like on the 10th-gen iPad. For that device, this made perfect sense, because its front camera is mostly used for video calls, in which landscape orientation is the more popular option. We’re not sure why that logic doesn’t apply to the Air, other than guessing that the company felt the Apple Pencil charging setup, which magnetically attaches to the long edge, is more important than a properly placed camera.

Other than this, the speakers look the same, the power and volume buttons look the same, and the Smart Connector on the back looks the same. The only obvious change we can spot affects the rear-facing camera, which now seems to sit in a raised module together with the flash; on the 2022 model, only the lens sits proud of the back surface.

There were no new iPads in 2023, but we expect Apple to announce a new line of iPad Airs, including the new larger model, in spring 2024. For all the latest news and rumors, check our regularly updated new iPad Air superguide.