Next 12.9-inch iPad Pro to be the first Apple product to ship with a Mini-LED display

We’ve been hearing reports about Apple adopting Mini-LED displays for a long time now. However, today, a new report states that the first Apple product to adopt a Mini-LED display will be the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, which will launch in early 2021.

Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, as revealed in a note obtained by MacRumors, said that Apple is working on at least six iPad and Mac products with Mini-LED displays set to release in 2021. He further suggests that Apple will feature the first Mini-LED displays in an iPad Pro likely to launch early next year.

The report further states that Epistar—Apple’s partner for Mini-LED chips—is experiencing some yield issues due to which it won’t be able to supply display units in numbers that were previously expected. The Mini-LED display shipments, as a result, have been cut down by 50% to nearly 300,000 to 400,000 this year.

“Apple’s mini LED dies will be mass-produced in 4Q20, but due to yield issues related to the production process of display module materials, the 4Q20 display shipments have been revised down by 50% to 300,000-400,000. We believe that the mini LED display in 4Q20 will be used for the new ‌iPad Pro‌,” says Kuo.

Despite the delay, there’s some good news. In an earlier report, Kuo said that Apple is partnering with additional Mini-LED display suppliers to diversify its supply chain for the component. Particularly, Sanan Electronics is expected to rapidly catch up on the development of Mini-LED displays while also driving down costs, resulting in helping Apple ship the large quantities of the display technology in its products in the first half of 2021.

Mini-LED displays are interesting because they are cheaper and easier to produce than OLED displays, while also offering significant improvements in contrast and response times as compared to the IPS LCD display panels Apple uses in its iPads and MacBooks now. The mechanism behind it is interesting, too.

We’ve also written an in-depth guide explaining the difference between Mini-LED and OLED, and why Apple’s opting for the former rather than the latter.

You should note that, however, Mini-LED displays are different than Micro-LED displays. The latter is quite difficult to manufacture as of now and is also expensive. Apple is expected to use Micro-LED displays first in its Apple Watches probably next year. The smaller form factor of an individual Mini-LED display allows better control over the entire backlight, thereby producing better images.

The report also implicitly suggests there’s a new iPad Pro on the way in 2020. It could either be announced alongside the expected iPhone announcement in October or later in November alongside Apple’s first ARM MacBooks. The new iPad Pro is expected to sport a Mini-LED display and a powerful subsidiary of the A14 processor.

This is despite the fact that Apple already released an iPad Pro this year featuring introducing the LiDAR scanner for the first time in an Apple product.

Apart from that, Mini-LED displays are also expected to eventually make their way into MacBooks. Today’s report suggests the first MacBooks that will sport the new display technology will launch in 2021. Apple is currently working on releasing its first ARM MacBooks this year. Also, currently, all MacBook models have ann IPS LCD display similar to the iPad.

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