Apple Bolsters Supply Chain for Future Mini-LED iPad Pro and MacBook Pro Models

Apple is rumored to be releasing a mini LED-backlit iPad Pro and a new mini-LED MacBook Pro series over the next 18 months, and the devices have just picked up two new suppliers, according to industry sources.


DigiTimes today reports that two former Apple suppliers, Taiwan's Zhen Ding Technology and Flexium Interconnect, have entered the supply chain to make the flexible printed circuit boards for the mini-LED devices.

The two PCB makers will reportedly compete with their South Korean peer Young Poong Electronics for the higher shipment ratio of flexible boards required, and are well placed to gain a larger portion of shipment orders because they boast better flexible board manufacturing technology capability.

Both firms are expected to start small-volume shipments of mini LED-backlit modules in the fourth quarter of 2020 to support the launch of new ‌iPad Pro‌ in the first quarter of 2021, the sources said. As such modules are likely to become standard specs for diverse new iPads and MacBooks, Zhen Ding and Flexium can secure a new profitable outlet for their flexible boards, the sources noted.

Apple is rumored to be planning to release a high-end 12.9-inch ‌iPad Pro‌ with a mini-LED display and 5G in 2021. Apple was originally planning to launch the device in the fall of 2020, but is reportedly unable to meet that deadline with the global health crisis, and now multiple sources suggest a 2021 launch. DigiTimes claims we could see the device as early as the first quarter of next year, while leaker L0vetodream has claimed they won't arrive until the second quarter.

Apple is also working on a 14.1-inch ‌MacBook Pro‌ and an updated 16-inch ‌MacBook Pro‌ with a mini-LED display, according to Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, although the roadmap for these machines is far from clear.

While Kuo has said the mini-LED version of the 16-inch ‌MacBook Pro‌ is slated for the fall of 2020, he hasn't provided launch information for the 14.1-inch model that Apple is working on, beyond suggesting that there are several mini-LED devices in the works for 2020 and 2021. Meanwhile, L0vetodream has claimed the 14.1-inch ‌MacBook Pro‌ won't be launching until 2021.


DigiTimes has previously claimed that Apple will launch multiple Mac notebook models with mini-LED backlit displays by the end of 2020, and Bloomberg's Mark Gurman said in April that Apple plans to introduce a 16-inch ‌MacBook Pro‌ in October or November, but it's not clear if this refresh features a mini-LED display.

Ultimately, work on all the mini-LED devices may have been pushed back to 2021. This includes the 16-inch mini-LED ‌MacBook Pro‌, and multiple sources now suggest a 2021 launch for the machine.

The future mini-LED displays will use approximately 10,000 LEDs, with each one below 200 microns in size. Mini-LED will allow for thinner and lighter product designs, offering many of the same benefits as OLED like better wide color gamut, high contrast and dynamic range, and local dimming for truer blacks. Kuo believes the mini-LED technology will "significantly improve productivity and the entertainment experience."

Related Roundups: iPad Pro, MacBook Pro

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
5 weeks ago
Yeah, my wallet and I would really like to know when that 14" mini-LED ARM MBP is launching..
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
5 weeks ago


I’m guessing that this new display tech will be accompanied by a price increase... I also wonder if they will hold this tech for the MacBook until the ARM machines are ready.

Apple may be able to keep the same or better margins by using their own CPU's
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
5 weeks ago
It makes sense now why Apple didn’t update the recent Ice Lake MacBook Pro to a 14.1 inch display. Why give that to a legacy platform when you have major one coming at the end of the year based on your own Silicon?
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
5 weeks ago
10,000 LEDs? Sounds like a new touchbar.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
5 weeks ago
I’m guessing that this new display tech will be accompanied by a price increase... I also wonder if they will hold this tech for the MacBook until the ARM machines are ready.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
5 weeks ago


Yeah, my wallet and I would really like to know when that 14" mini-LED ARM MBP is launching..

at the same time im not sure if you want the very first of the procs and new screens (as an owner of the original retina macbook pro). They def made solid improvements each year culminating with the 2015 model. Hopefully its not an ipad 3 situation where the immediate successor fixes a bunch of key issues
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

Apple Confirms This Year's iPhone 12 Models Will Be a Little Bit Late

Thursday July 30, 2020 2:34 pm PDT by
During today's earnings call covering the third fiscal quarter of 2020 (second calendar quarter) Apple CFO Luca Maestri confirmed that Apple is expecting to release this year's iPhones later than usual. Maestri said that Apple last year started selling iPhones in late September, but this year, Apple projects supply will be "available a few weeks later." Multiple rumors have suggested that ...

Apple-Acquired Dark Sky Officially Shuts Down Android App

Saturday August 1, 2020 3:43 pm PDT by
Apple in March purchased weather app Dark Sky, and at that time, Dark Sky's developers said that the app's Android version would be discontinued on July 1, 2020. However, instead of shuttering the app on that date, the app's developers announced that the discontinuation would be delayed for another month. Now that it's August, Android users are no longer able to access the app, and...

Apple Watch Series 6 to Feature Blood Oxygen Monitoring Sensor

Friday July 31, 2020 1:56 am PDT by
The Apple Watch Series 6 will add blood oxygen monitoring to its features list when it's launched later this year, according to a new report from DigiTimes. Apple Watch 6 will feature biosensors that can monitor sleeping conditions, detect blood oxygen and measure pulse rates, heartbeats and atrial fibrillation, and will also incorporate MEMS-based accelerometer and gyroscope, all allowing the ...

Just How Small Will the 5.4-Inch iPhone 12 Screen Be? Try It Out for Yourself

Tuesday July 28, 2020 12:57 pm PDT by
As rumors of the iPhone 12 have continued to build over the past few months, the one model that has the most excitement around it is the smallest 5.4" model. The iPhone 12 is believed to be coming in 5.4", 6.7", and 6.1" sizes. Dummy models have shown how much smaller the 5.4" is compared to the rest of the iPhone lineup. The upcoming 5.4" iPhone falls in-between the size of the original...

Top Stories: Try the 5.4-Inch iPhone 12 Display Size, Blockbuster Earnings, Tim Cook at Antitrust Hearing

Saturday August 1, 2020 6:00 am PDT by
Another busy week of Apple news and rumors has wrapped up, with a lot of focus on Tim Cook's appearance at a Congressional antitrust hearing and a blockbuster earnings report. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. We continued to hear rumors about the upcoming iPhone 12 lineup, including a rare admission from Apple that the lineup will launch "a few weeks later" than...

Emails Reveal Why Steve Jobs and Phil Schiller Blocked In-App Purchase of Kindle Books

Friday July 31, 2020 6:25 am PDT by
Internal Apple emails, made public by the House Judiciary Committee's antitrust inquiry, have revealed information about why Apple blocked in-app purchases of Kindle books on iOS devices, reports The Verge. Two sets of emails between Steve Jobs, Phil Schiller, Eddy Cue, and various other senior Apple executives, disclose the exact thinking behind how Apple approached Kindle on iOS. The...

Battery Likely for Upcoming Apple Watch Series 6 Filed in Certification Listings

Saturday August 1, 2020 5:46 am PDT by
A battery likely for the upcoming Apple Watch Series 6 has been filed at the Korea Testing and Research Institute and discovered by a Twitter user @yabhishekhd. Certification for a 1.17Wh battery with a capacity of 303.8mAh was issued on June 23 by the KTR, a Korean regulatory body that approves and tests new hardware ahead of public sale. The battery seems to be destined for a future...

Apple Marks Return of NHL With New 'Hockey Tape' Ad Shot on iPhone 11 Pro

Saturday August 1, 2020 2:33 am PDT by
Apple today marked the return of NHL hockey with a new "Shot on iPhone" ad on its YouTube channel in Canada. Titled "Hockey Tape," the 30-second video features Vegas Golden Knights players Marc-André Fleury and Mark Stone having some on-ice fun with the iPhone 11 Pro, which they attach to the boards, a hockey stick, and a skate with hockey tape. "See the game like never before with Ultra ...

Apple Launches New Gift Card for 'Everything Apple'

Friday July 31, 2020 3:45 am PDT by
Apple has introduced a new single gift card in the U.S. for all things Apple. First spotted by iCulture, the card can be used at the App Store and other online services, but you can also use it to buy products and accessories in the Apple Store. Previously, there were two separate Apple gift cards available: iTunes cards, which can be used for App Store, iTunes Store, and iCloud storage...

Leaker Jon Prosser Claims iPhone 12 and New iPads Will Launch in October

Wednesday July 29, 2020 4:15 pm PDT by
Leaker Jon Prosser, who has a somewhat mixed track record when it comes to predicting Apple's plans, today said that new iPhone 12 models and new iPads will launch in October. Multiple rumors have suggested that some or all of the iPhone 12 models coming this year will see a later than normal launch. Apple typically unveils and releases new iPhones in the month of September, but problems...