Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claimed earlier in the week that Apple plans to release four to six products with mini-LED displays over the next two to three years, including a high-end 12.9-inch iPad Pro.
Kuo has said the mini-LED displays will "significantly improve productivity and the entertainment experience," and has previously said that mini-LED displays will allow for thinner and lighter product designs, while offering many of the same benefits of OLED displays used on the latest iPhones, including higher contrast ratio, higher brightness, and deeper blacks.
According to DigiTimes, the supply chain makers ready to receive orders for the components include Epistar, General Interface Solution (GIS), Taiwan Surface Mounting Technology (TSMT), Zhen Ding Technology, and Flexium Interconnect.
LED wafer and chip maker Epistar will compete for orders for mini LED chips from Apple through Te Opto, its joint venture with Japan-based Toyoda Gosei, the sources noted. Epistar will supply mini LED chips sized 200-micron x 200-micron and estimates that such an iPad Pro will use up to 10,000 mini LED chips, the sources indicated.Kuo has previously said that future iPad and MacBook mini-LED displays will each use approximately 10,000 LEDs, compared to 576 in Apple's upcoming Pro Display XDR. The TF International Securities analyst has said he also expects each LED will be below 200 microns in size.
For mini LED backlight units (BLUs), Apple originally chose Radiant Opto-Electronics but the company was conservative about investment in expanding production capacity, the sources said. Consequently, CIS and LG Display are most likely to obtain BLU orders, the sources noted.
GIS is an existing supplier of touch modules and LCD modules used in Apple's iPads. Today's supply chain analysis corroborates a recent Economic Daily News report that GIS will also make the new iPad Pro's mini LED backlight units (BLUs).
Meanwhile, TSMT is expected to be responsible for the surface-mounted technology, and Zhen Ding and Flexium stand a good chance of supplying flexible PCBs, according to DigiTimes' sources.
Kuo expects the new mini-LED iPad Pro to launch in the third quarter of 2020; Apple is widely rumored to refresh the iPad Pro in spring 2020. If it does, another new 12.9-inch model in fall 2020 would certainly be an early addition to the range.