When Apple announced the new iPad Air, with striking new design, Apple’s fastest-ever chip and a cool new Touch ID fingerprint sensor mounted in the top button, all it said was that it would be out some time in October.

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The Air uses the A14 Bionic chip which is expected to be in the iPhone 12, making the iPad Air faster than even the iPad Pro, though the enhanced display, Face ID and greater graphical capabilities of the Pro will still appeal to those who want the most powerful tablet.

The 10.9in display, compatibility with the Magic Keyboard accessory and Apple Pencil (second-generation), the all-new and colorful design with all-screen front have meant the new tablet is highly anticipated.

So, when exactly can you buy one?

Recent tweets from reliable analysts have suggested it’s very nearly here. Here’s what we know.

iPhone 12 launch on Tuesday will reveal the date, surely?

When Apple unveils its latest products, including HomePod mini and four different models of the iPhone 12, this Tuesday, October 13. So, that might be the perfect time for Apple to announce when the new iPad Air will be on sale. And, since the iPhones are expected to use the same chip as the iPad Air, it’s a great chance to big up the capabilities of the processor all over again.

Respected leaker Jon Prosser has said that Tuesday’s event is when the date for the iPad Air going on sale will be revealed.

Mark Gurman says we’re nearly there

Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman is eminently well-connected and a couple of weeks ago he pointed out that marketing materials were arriving at Apple Stores.

All very well, but that’s still not very precise, is it?

Don’t worry, there’s more. On Friday evening, he added another tweet which said that shipments of “new devices” to Apple Stores had begun, in readiness for opening soon after.

Gurman reckoned these mystery devices could not be iPhones. I agree. There’s no way on Earth Apple would risk something go wrong with a currently unannounced product somehow appearing just days before the unveil event.

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He also said he thinks that such a movement of stock would be too soon for iPhones. I agree with that, too. Though the announcement of Apple Watch Series 6 on Tuesday, September 15 was followed by an ons ale date for Series 6 and Apple Watch SE just three days later, that’s not how Apple usually does things.

As such, an on sale date for iPhone 12 is surely more likely to be not three but 10 days after this week’s announcement, that is, Friday, October 23. Apple could release the iPad Air on the same day but that seems very unlikely to me.

In which case…

That suggests to me that the iPad Air will be in stores ahead of the iPhone 12. Apple can put a product on sale on any date it likes, but it usually likes a Friday, so my guess is that you’ll be able to pre-order an iPad Air from Tuesday, October 13, or Wednesday, October 14 and it could be in stores from Friday, October 16.

This is in line with other rumors, such as one from Komiya, another often-reliable tipster, who recently tweeted that the iPad Air would be shipped on October 16. This seems likely to me unless Apple decided to put the Air on sale after the iPhone, which would mean Friday, October 30. But this seems a little late to me, though it is technically in October, as Apple promised.

Nothing is certain until it’s actually confirmed by Apple but the good thing is we’ll almost certainly get that confirmation in just a couple of days’ time.

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