Kuo: Apple to Accelerate Adoption of Mini-LED Displays in iPad and Mac Notebook Lineups

Increased competition among Apple's suppliers for mini-LED display chips will accelerate the company's adoption of the advanced technology in its iPad and MacBook lineups, according to a new research note from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo seen by MacRumors.

16 inch MBP Mini Led
Kuo says that while Epistar had been predicted to be the exclusive supplier of mini-LED chips for Apple products in 2021, Sanan Optoelectronics has experienced better than expected development on the technology and will also begin supplying Apple in 2021 rather than the previously estimated timeframe of 2022.

The increased supply capacity and competition among suppliers will reportedly drive Apple's cost for mini-LED display dies from $75–$85 down to around $45. As a result, Kuo expects that mini-LED technology will appear in roughly 30–40% of ‌iPad‌ shipments and 20–30% of MacBook shipments in 2021, up from previous estimates of 10–20% shipment share for both product lines.

Although Epistar has met Apple's mass production requirements, we believe that Apple continues to look for new suppliers in order to reduce supply risks and costs. Among the second supplier candidates, Sanan Optoelectronics' development schedule and cost are superior to competitors (including Osram and Seoul Semiconductor). We predict that Sanan Optoelectronics will have 20–30% and 45–55% of Apple’s mini LED market share in 2021 and 2022, respectively (vs. our previous estimates of 0% and 10–20%), plus non-Apple. The demand for mini LEDs in China has grown, so we believe that Sanan Optoelectronics will significantly benefit from the mini LED business in the next 3-5 years.

Apple has been rumored for some time to be looking to introduce mini-LED display technology to its iPad Pro and Mac notebook lineups, and Kuo said roughly six months ago that Apple has six mini-LED products in its pipeline planned to launch though the end of 2021. The products include a 12.9-inch ‌iPad Pro‌, a 27-inch iMac Pro, a 14.1-inch MacBook Pro, a 16-inch ‌MacBook Pro‌, a 10.2.-inch ‌iPad‌, and a 7.9-inch ‌‌iPad‌‌ mini.

As we've outlined in our guide on mini-LED technology, the displays use on the order of 1,000 to 10,000 individual LEDs that offer a number of improvements over traditional LED-backlit displays, coming close to performance of OLED displays without some of the drawbacks of that technology.

Mini-LED displays can offer deeper, darker blacks, brighter brights, richer colors, and better contrast compared to traditional LED-based displays, though the technology comes at a significant increase in cost for the time being.

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Top Rated Comments

farewelwilliams Avatar
50 months ago
a rumor that's not from mr. prosser? now that's a rumor i can trust!

supposedly mini-led will break away from samsung's near monopoly on oled production.

great news for the entire tech industry. samsung must be crapping themselves.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
cmaier Avatar
50 months ago
If they release even one they will be “increasing adoption.”


I think miniLED will be the premier screen technology for the best screens in the coming decade.

Micro LED I've been following intently for years. I doubt it will be here before 2030.

Hopefully miniLED comes to iPhone within a year or two and the garbage that is OLED can finally be tossed out on the curb.
How is oled garbage? You’ll always have blooming with miniLED.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
mozumder Avatar
50 months ago
Mini-LEDs are nice and all but they're still a transmissive backlight technology.

We need micro-LEDs to come through. Each pixel is lit individually like OLEDs, without OLED's burn-in and lifespan problems.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
TheYayAreaLiving ?️ Avatar
50 months ago
Bring it to the iPhone
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Currry Avatar
50 months ago
I have a theory about the future of iPad Pros, so hear me out. I’d like to know if this makes sense to everyone.

The 12.9“ iPad Pro has been the only consistent model throughout the iPad Pro family. The only *inconsistent* model has been the smaller pro models which change. First it was the 9.7” Pro, then the 10.5” Pro, and currently the 11“ Pro.

If I have my history right, Apple will usually offer a cheaper iPad model that shares features with the smaller Pro. For example:
- iPad 9.7“ with keyboard & 1st gen Apple Pencil support is similar to iPad Pro 9.7”
- iPad Air 3 was similar to iPad Pro 10.5”
- *new* iPad Air (4th gen) similar to iPad Pro 11”
*obviously there are differences, but they are relatively similar products nonetheless.

Now that Apple has introduced the iPad Air (4th gen) I suspect that the 11” Pro will either change again (since the smaller Pros always change) OR it will be discontinued. If Kuo is right, and mini-LED doesn’t come to 11“ Pro, I believe 11” Pro will be discontinued.

With that being said, I feel it could make room for a larger 15” or 16” iPad Pro with bigger Magic Keyboard.

This would similarly match Apples MacBook lineup:
- Macbook 12” (if it returns) = iPad (8th Gen)
- Macbook Air 13” = iPad Air (4th Gen)
- Macbook Pro 13”/14” = iPad Pro 12.9”
- Macbook Pro 16” = *new* iPad Pro 15”/16”

So just like how theres a MacBook for everyone, there would be an iPad for everyone.

Again, this is a theory I’ve thought about and wonder if it will pan out. If they ever did release a iPad Pro 15”/16” I feel like Apple would be required to announce pro apps on the device. If not, it’s almost like whats the point ? lol.

Anyways, hope this makes sense ?
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
fokmik Avatar
50 months ago

I actually think you'll see it first in Apple's wearable lineup, starting with Apple Glasses and Apple Watch.
impossible...the pixel shrink is too hard...its physiscs so. Maybe apple will be so cheap that will not put into the imacs etc bec of its costs....others will do...no wonder we already have big TV with micro-led and no watches or something smaller


I think miniLED will be the premier screen technology for the best screens in the coming decade.

Micro LED I've been following intently for years. I doubt it will be here before 2030.

Hopefully miniLED comes to iPhone within a year or two and the garbage that is OLED can finally be tossed out on the curb.
0 chances...todays oled from samsung are far superior to the mini-led
mini-led is better than current lcd panels
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)