Another piece of the puzzle could come this summer, when Apple shows off iOS 13 for the first time. iOS 11 made significant improvements to the iPad's multitasking capabilities, but many people want a more robust interface for these larger screens. Rumor has it iOS 13 will use tabs to display multiple "windows" of the same iPad app and also let apps show two different views of an app side-by-side as well. Chance are good that iOS won't let you stack up as many windows as you want like you can on a Mac (or Windows, or Linux, or Chrome OS), but improved multitasking should help Apple sell its iPad vision.
Regardless of potential software updates, the new Air and significantly upgraded iPad mini have put Apple's tablet lineup in a sensible place. Before, there was a huge gap between the basic iPad and audacious iPad Pro; the 10.5-inch iPad Pro filled that gap, but it still cost $650, or nearly double the price of the entry-level iPad. As for the iPad mini, no one in their right mind should have paid $400 for a device that's more than three years old.
Now, Apple has three consumer-grade iPads to which it can easily make spec-bump updates when needed, not to mention a premium line where it can keep pushing the tablet envelope. As we've seen with the Apple Pencil, Apple will eventually bring those Pro-exclusive features and technology to other iPads. That means we're probably a couple years away from seeing a $500 iPad with Face ID -- but in the meantime, we get to keep Touch ID and the headphone jack! And that upgraded screen will probably be a perfect vehicle for the video subscription service that Apple's going to unveil next week.