iPad Air 3 release date, specs: Low-cost 9.7-inch iPad Pro could replace the iPad Air 3

An Apple iPad tablet.Pixabay/ Apple iPad

Despite the slew of new products that had been launched by Apple in the past few months, there still continues to be no official word regarding the highly anticipated successor to the iPad Air 2, the Apple iPad Air 3.

Now, new reports are suggesting that the latest iPad Air might have been scrapped altogether and that Apple is replacing it with a brand new 9.7-inch iPad Pro variant.

A previously published report (via macrumors) by KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kou had revealed that Apple may be launching three screen size variants of their new iPad Pro tablet line, namely a 12.9-inch, a 10.6-inch, and a "low-cost" 9.7-inch. According to the report, the 12.9-inch and the 10.6-inch will likely be powered by Apple's latest A10X processor, while the smaller 9.7-inch will be coming with an A9X chip.

To allow the company to price the smaller variant significantly lower than its larger siblings, similar cutbacks with its components are also being expected. With the 9.7-inch version now cutting into iPad Air territory, in terms of price and specs, it is highly likely that Apple may scrap the entire iPad Air line altogether. However, since the company has not yet made any comments regarding the matter, there is still a chance that a new iPad Air will be introduced this year.

If it does exist, some reports have predicted that it will likely be a sleeker device than its predecessor at just 6.1mm thick. The device will likely be encased in a new aluminum chassis design that is comprised of a sturdier type of aluminum.

There are also speculations of a possible AMOLED display on the new iPad, possibly with a 2048x1538 resolution. Other rumored specs include an integrated fingerprint scanner, a four-speaker audio system, and full Apple Pencil support. The device is likely to be priced somewhere around $599, but that price could be considerably lower if Apple chooses to go with less expensive components.