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2023 will be the first year without new iPads since 2010. Here's why and what to expect

Thinking about buying a new iPad? Read this first.
Written by Jada Jones, Associate Editor
Appel iPad Pro 2022
Jason Cipriani/ZDNET

This year was an eventful one for Apple. The company released new software, a bigger MacBook Air, upgraded computer chips, the next generation of iPhones, upgraded MacBook Pros, new Apple Watches, and announced its first mixed-reality headset.

Review: MacBook Pro (M3 Max): A desktop-class laptop for an AI-powered age

But what happened to new AirPods? Sure, Apple re-released the new AirPods Pro (2nd generation). However, the new AirPods only saw a software update, an upgrade to the charging case's dust resistance, and swapped the Lightning charging port for USB-C.

Still, AirPods Pro didn't receive any upgrades to internal hardware or audio components. More importantly, no other AirPods received any upgrades, including Apple's high-end over-ear headphones, AirPods Max. AirPods Max are closing in on their third birthday and still retail for $549 despite not having any hardware or software upgrades.

And where are the new iPads? That's a question many consumers and Apple analysts have asked all year, as Apple hasn't refreshed the iPad and iPad Pro since October 2022. The iPad Mini hasn't had a refresh since September 2021, and the iPad Air last demanded our attention in March 2022.

According to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman, Apple didn't have new iPads or AirPods ready in time for a release ahead of the holiday shopping season. Gurman expects Apple to refresh all four iPad models next year. Base model AirPods and AirPods Max should also get a refresh next year, too, Gurman says.

Also: MacBook Pro vs MacBook Air: How to decide which Apple laptop to buy

However, Apple skipping out on refreshing iPads might not have been the worst business decision. Compared to the third quarter of last year, worldwide tablet shipments declined by 14.2%, according to an IDC report.

With minimal improvements to the economy and consumers allocating their money to buying new smartphones and PCs, tablets aren't very high on people's tech priority list.

So, if you were hoping to buy a new iPad for the holidays, there won't be any new models for you to choose from. Check ZDNET's list of Apple products you shouldn't buy this month and our list of the best tablets you can buy right now before you pay full price for last year's tech.

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