DigiTimes: 12.9-inch Mini-LED iPad Pro Arriving Early 2021, Mini-LED MacBook Coming Later
The Taiwan-based industry publication claims Epistar will supply the over-10,000 mini LEDs used in each iPad Pro tablet. Meanwhile, Apple is expected to recruit Osram Opto as another supplier of mini LEDs for use in a new "high-end" MacBook, which lines up with supplier information cited by respected analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.
Osram Opto Semiconductors is expected to supply backlight-use mini LED for high-end MacBook in second-half 2021, becoming Apple's second supplier of such chips next to Taiwan-based Epistar, according to industry sources.
Apple is expected to launch 12.9-inch mini LED-backlit iPad Pro in early 2021, with each tablet to use over 10,000 mini LEDs solely supplied by Epistar, the sources said. Epistar is ready to start production of mini LEDs by modifying its blue-light LED chipmaking equipment for producing such mini LEDs in third-quarter 2020, the sources noted.
Kuo has long predicted that a high-end 12.9-inch iPad Pro would likely be Apple's first mini-LED product. Kuo believes that production will begin on mini-LED displays for the iPad Pro in the fourth quarter of 2020, though a launch may not come until next year.
Kuo has said a mini-LED version of a 16-inch MacBook Pro is in the works for a possible late 2020 release, and that Apple is also working on a mini-LED 14.1-inch MacBook Pro, although he hasn't provided launch information for the latter beyond suggesting there are several mini-LED devices in the works for 2021. According to Taiwanese research firm TrendForce, Apple suppliers won't begin competing to win manufacturing orders for new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models with mini-LED displays until the first quarter of 2021.
Kuo 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. Mini-LED displays, which use on the order of 1,000 to 10,000 individual LEDs, 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.