iPad Air and iPad mini with OLED screens pegged for 2026 release

OLED iPad mini concept
OLED iPad models might come in big and small sizes.
Image: Cult of Mac/Apple/Paul Inkles

Add iPad Air and iPad mini to the list of Apple tablets getting OLED screens. At least, that’s what an unconfirmed report coming out of Asia says. And the mini will supposedly get a boost in display size.

The top-of-the-line iPad Pro models will reportedly get the enhanced display type much sooner, though.

OLED coming to iPad Air and iPad mini

With OLED (short for organic light-emitting diode) displays, each pixel glows on its own. The result is a bright, even image with strong contrast. This type of screen looks so good, it’s already used for iPhone and Apple Watch. But large OLED panels are expensive, which is why iPad and MacBook have so far avoided them.

But that’s going to change. For months, reliable sources have pointed to the next iPad Pro models getting OLED displays in 2024.

And on Friday the Korean-language site etnews reported that both the iPad Air and iPad mini will also be upgraded with OLED. This allegedly won’t happen until 2026, though.

If true, it will mean that every version of Apple’s tablet except the cheapest will get an OLED screen over the next three years.

Size matters

etnews also reported that the OLED version of the iPad mini will have an 8.7-inch display. That’s up from the current 8.3-inch one.

But the 2026 iPad Air will supposedly stick with a 10.9-inch screen. It’s not clear how that fits with previous reports that Apple is prepping a 12.9-inch iPad Air with a traditional LCD for release in Q1 2024, though. The 10.9-inch version is supposed to stick around so maybe the larger version simply didn’t get included in this latest leak.

2026 will be a big year for Apple and OLED

When the OLED iPad Pro debuts in the first half of 2024 — assuming it does — MacBook will be the only line of Apple computers without the enhanced type of display. But that’s also supposedly changing in a few years.

If so, 2026 will be a big year for Apple and OLED. Cupertino will be well on its way to phasing out traditional LCDs before 2027 arrives.

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