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New 12.9-inch iPad Air may not be a large-screen bargain

Apple's current iPad Air 5

A new rumor claims that the forthcoming 12.9-inch iPad Air will use the same displays as on the current larger iPad Pro — which could be good or bad news for buyers expecting a lower-cost large screen.

Alongside the repeated and very strong rumor that for the first time there will be a larger iPad Air, has been the presumption that it will be less expensive than the iPad Pro. The iPad Air has always been less costly than the iPad Pro, but it also has to be because otherwise it has little reason to exist.

But now a new report from display analyst Ross Young says that the 12.9-inch iPad Air will use the same display panels as the current 12.9-inch iPad Pro. There are of course other component differences between the models, but the screen is a significant part of the cost.

Neither pricing nor positioning of the new iPad Air is clear. But, given the new screen it's unlikely that the 12.9-inch iPad Air can be priced dramatically lower than the existing iPad Pro.

It is better news that the display will be literally as good as on the current 12.9-inch iPad Pro, but then that has a further impact on cost. Existing users aiming to upgrade to the forthcoming new iPad Pro models will find that their old models are competing against the new iPad Air.

Young does say that the reason for using this display is that there are unused stocks of the screen that were made for the 12.9-inch iPad Pro.

While Apple has not confirmed that the iPad Air will come in a larger size, regulatory filings have shown that four iPad models are coming soon. It's believed that they are the iPad Air and iPad Pro, in 11-inch and 12.9-inch sizes.

Young and his firm Display Supply Chain Consultants, have a good track record when it comes to display-related rumors and supply chain stories, so it is likely that the screen news is accurate.