For the last few years, each autumn has brought us a new 8.9in standard iPad - well, except for this year. Sure, we got the iPad Pro and a new iPad Mini, but it was the first year since the tablet's debut that the core model was skipped.
Perhaps slowing tablet sales made the annual upgrade seem less meaningful, but in any case, Apple certainly isn't going to leave the iPad Air line stagnant for long. In fact, noted analyst Min-Chi Kuo from KGI Securities says that we should expect an iPad Air 3 come March 2016.
Surely a new model will bring a faster processor, perhaps more RAM, and updated cameras - and the addition of 3D Touch as well, right? Well, not so fast. Kuo says that 3D Touch production is falling behind needs for the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, and that Apple's suppliers won't be able to ramp up demand in time to meet a spring release for the Air 3.
To be fair, even the pricier iPad Pro doesn't have 3D Touch capabilities, and that's the top-of-the-line model for Apple's tablets. So perhaps it makes sense that the iPad Air 3 won't offer that functionality, although we have to wonder if Apple has enough other upgrades on offer to make it worthy of an upgrade for happy iPad Air 2 owners.
Don't forget: a report last week claimed that Apple was planning a March event to debut the Apple Watch 2 and possibly also a smaller, 3D Touch-less iPhone 6c, so an updated iPad Air could slide in well alongside those reveals.
And speaking of 3D Touch on the iPhone flagships, Kuo says the functionality is likely to return unchanged in next autumn's expected iPhone 7, which isn't really surprising. At this point, Apple has already made the hardware: now what it really needs is developer support on the software side of things, which is ramping up gradually.