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New iPad Air leak reveals unexpected design shift

iPad Air 4
(Image credit: DuanRui on Twitter)

We've been waiting with bated breath for more news on the upcoming new iPad Air design, and the trusty internet has just served up a humdinger. According to a leak on Twitter, suspicions that the Air could be subject to a total facelift were correct – with specs that more closely resemble its elder sibling, the iPad Pro.

If to be believed, the images shared (see the tweet below) are of an iPad Air 4 instruction manual, written in Spanish. The 10.8-inch tablet design, which is slightly smaller than the anticipated 11-inch, confirms some previously leaked rumours but also throws up some surprises.

As predicted earlier in the year, these images suggest the new iPad Air will replace its lightning port with USB-C connectivity – much like the iPad Pro. This is fantastic news for creatives using the best iPad apps for designers, as the tablet would be much more versatile – allowing uploads from a wider variation of devices, like DSLR cameras or external storage.

The booklet also depicts an iPad Air with a thin-bezel screen, with a much larger display ratio than previous models. This is brilliant news for digital artists – just imagine what you could achieve with that extra canvas space and these top painting and drawing apps for iPad. Though you'll also need a fabulous stylus too, of course. (Check out the best Apple pencil deals if you need one).

iPad Pro

Will the new Air look more like the Pro? These images suggest so (Image credit: Henry Ascroft on Unsplash)

The major shock is that the iPad Air featured in this pamphlet has ditched Face ID in favour of Touch ID. More surprisingly still, the Touch ID button is not found on the home button, but on the power button on the side of the tablet. A side-sitting Touch ID button has been floated before, but for an iPhone model. An iPad with this design is unprecedented, marking a major change.

Of course, no leak is guaranteed as being totally legit and, as 9-5 Mac points out, it is always possible the images were Photoshopped. But they (and we) can't see any evidence of any trickery from looking at the pictures so we're quietly hopeful.

As this leak seems to confirm previous rumours, it feels like the future of the iPad Air is beginning to take shape. We're certainly excited at the prospect of a midrange iPad that'll take on the expensive Pro, especially with the benefits it'll have for creative work. Whether or not that will happen only time will tell. 

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