Report: Apple’s first iPad Pro with mini LED display and 5G to launch in Q1 2021

Apple is expected to introduce a new iPad Pro model in Q1 2021 that uses mini LED for its display. This follows a report from Korea ET News that stated the Cupertino based company has selected South Korean display maker, LG Display to supply mini LEDs for its upcoming premium tablet.

For those not in the know, mini LED uses thousands of tiny LED backlights to light up a regular LCD panel, allowing for better micro level local dimming. These displays are said to offer better contrast, energy efficiency and lower risk of burn-in compared to conventional display technology.

It should not be confused with microLED, a display technology similar to OLED because they emit their own light, thus does not require backlighting. It is touted to be better than OLED displays. But, it is still a ways off from hitting the mass consumer market due to high costs and manufacturing complexity. 

The ET News report states that LG Display will ship the mini LED displays to Apple which will use the screen technology with its new iPad line up in early 2021 as well as for their MacBook computers.

A display industry spokesman said, “Starting with Apple, other IT device manufacturers will also follow Apple’s suit in using Mini LED backlight LCDs. This trend will bring huge changes to the global LCD market”

The report also states:

It is expected that LCDs that are used for laptops, tablets, and monitors will be replaced with Mini LED backlight LCDs and there will be new markets in the LED industry due to increased demands for Mini LEDs. This will also create a fierce competition with the OLED base that has been looking to expand itself towards the medium and large display markets that include laptops and tablets.

Originally, the Cupertino headquartered company had plans to release six devices using mini LED this year but had to push back its timeline due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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It is said that the supply chain for the display has been set with Taiwan based Epistar providing the mini LEDs while another Taiwanese company TSMT will supply the Surface Mount Technology (SMT) to mount the mini LEDs. Meanwhile, LG Display will add its LCD screen to the modules and supply the finalised displays to Apple. The display maker is expected to begin mass-production of the display sometime at the end of this year.

We previously reported that TF international analyst Ming-Chi Kuo forecasted that Apple would release a new tablet with a 12.9” display. In his recent report, Kuo mentions that the Cupertino-based company will be accelerating the adoption of mini LED panels as the current testing yield better results than expected. 

Twitter tipster L0vetodream also speculated that the new iPad Pro models would be launched in the first half of next year and would sport mini LED displays. He also claimed that the new tablets would be powered by a 5nm A14X Bionic chips and support 5G connectivity.

Tablets have become must-have devices in many households with many people using them either as work devices or used by their children for distance learning. Apple has seen healthy earnings from its tablet category, with its reported fiscal fourth quarter earnings showing USD9.03 billion (~RM37.5 billion) in iPad sales that was up 46% year-over-year. For fiscal year 2020, Apple increased its tablet sales by 11.5% to USD23.72 billion (~RM98.5 billion).


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