Kuo: Mini-LED iPad and AirPods 3 Coming First Half of 2021

Apple intends to launch an iPad with a mini-LED display and AirPods 3 with a design signature similar to AirPods Pro in the first half of next year, according to TFI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.

iPad Pro Mini LED Article
In a research note to investors, seen by MacRumors, Kuo's latest predictions relate to the fortunes of Taiwanese manufacturer Career Technology, which is expected to be a key partner in the supply chain for Apple's products in 2021, thanks to its flexible soft board technology.

LCP (liquid crystal polymer) soft boards are said to offer a flexible way to connect components together while facilitating high-speed, low-latency data transfer. Career is expected to regain orders for acoustic and optical components in soft boards destined for a mini-LED ‌iPad‌, which will be mass produced in the first half of 2021, according to the note.

Kuo said roughly eight 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.

However, Kuo has long predicted that a 12.9-inch ‌‌iPad Pro‌‌ with a fourth quarter 2021 launch timeframe would likely be Apple's first mini-LED product, so this latest development appears to suggest that the analyst's expectations have changed.

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.

With regards to AirPods, the note reiterates Kuo's belief that Apple is working on third-generation AirPods that will go into mass production during the first half of 2021.

The new ‌AirPods‌ will adopt the System-in-Package used for the ‌AirPods Pro‌, replacing the rigid-flex PCB+SMT design of the second-generation ‌AirPods‌, and allowing for a form factor similar to the ‌AirPods Pro‌, featuring a shorter stem and replaceable ear tips.

The ‌AirPods 3‌ are expected to be more affordable and will lack higher-end features like Active Noise Cancellation. Battery life could be improved, though, and Apple is working on a new wireless chip.

Kuo says Career will obtain component orders for the ‌AirPods 3‌, which is expected to significantly contribute to the supplier's revenue and profit from the second quarter of 2020.

Kuo's note also mentions that Apple intends to expand its use of soft board technology in next year's "iPhone 13," which is expected to save space and reduce manufacturing costs, with Career again projected to benefit from the wider adoption.

Related Roundups: iPad Pro, AirPods 3
Related Forums: iPad, AirPods

Top Rated Comments

Nozuka Avatar
43 months ago
I'll take one of these 14.1'' Macbooks, thanks :)
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
gnipgnop Avatar
43 months ago

Yeah, we have OLED in 88 inch TVs. Why can't we have it in a 12.9 inch iPad?
Burn-in. OLED works best for content that is not in a fixed position for long periods of time. TVs these days have computer style interfaces with a lot of fixed position elements, but there's no expectation that the user will be using the interface for hours at a time. That's different for laptop/desktop use and tablet use. You would expect users to have static elements on the screen in the form of menu systems and tool systems around the clock. That doesn't really fit well with the burn-in limitations of OLED technology.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Dolmio Avatar
43 months ago
14.1 m1 mini led MacBook with face ID please
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Keniutek Avatar
43 months ago
There better be a "new" 11 IPP. :mad:
If this thing gets killed to promote new Air4 even more, i'll be pissed.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
wave84 Avatar
43 months ago
I really can't understand why Apple doesn't simply use OLED technology for iPads. I mean, there are tablets out there (Lenovo P11 Pro) that use OLED and only cost 500 bucks. And OLED is superior to miniLED in every single way, with basically no drawback (pixel aging doesn't apply to tablets, it shouldn't stay on that much). So.. why?
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Oohara Avatar
43 months ago
A new iPad Mini with slimmer bezels is top of my list. Give me one of those and I'll switch out my iPhone 12 Pro Max for an iPhone Mini, and be happy for the rest of my life.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

General Apps Messages

Apple Announces 'Groundbreaking' New Security Protocol for iMessage

Wednesday February 21, 2024 6:00 am PST by
Apple today announced a new post-quantum cryptographic protocol for iMessage called PQ3. Apple says this "groundbreaking" and "state-of-the-art" protocol provides "extensive defenses against even highly sophisticated quantum attacks." Apple believes the PQ3 protocol's protections "surpass those in all other widely deployed messaging apps," according to its blog post:Today we are announcing...
iOS 17

iOS 17.4 Will Add These New Features to Your iPhone

Monday February 19, 2024 6:52 am PST by
Apple last month confirmed that iOS 17.4 will be released in March, and the update includes several new features and changes for the iPhone. Key new features in iOS 17.4 include major App Store changes in the EU and Apple Podcasts transcripts. The update also adds new emoji and includes preparations for the launch of next-generation CarPlay later this year. More details about the new...
samsung galaxy ring

'Apple Ring' Allegedly in Development to Rival Samsung Galaxy Ring

Tuesday February 20, 2024 2:27 am PST by
Apple is speeding up development of a smart ring that can be worn on the finger to track users' health biometrics, claims a new report coming out of Korea. Teaser image of Samsung Galaxy Ring shown at Galaxy Unpacked in January Apple has toyed with the idea of a ring wearable for several years, as indicated by several patents, but with Samsung preparing to bring its own product to market, the ...
volvo s60 drivers apple maps

iOS 17.4 Beta Adds CarPlay Option to Show Upcoming Maneuvers in Instrument Cluster

Tuesday February 20, 2024 10:47 am PST by
The fourth beta of iOS 17.4 that Apple released today adds a new CarPlay feature, according to the notes that Apple provided to developers. In supported CarPlay vehicles, there's now an Apple Maps option to show information about upcoming maneuvers in the instrument cluster. CarPlay users will be able to swap the display type between the main and instrument cluster by tapping on the map...
m3 macbook pro 14 16

Apple Now Selling Refurbished M3 Pro and M3 Max MacBook Pro Models

Monday February 19, 2024 5:04 pm PST by
Apple today began offering refurbished versions of the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models with M3 Pro and M3 Max chip options, offering the machines at a discount for the first time since their October 2023 release. The release of M3 Pro and M3 Max models on Apple's refurbished store comes almost two weeks after the entry-level 14-inch M3 MacBook Pro first appeared on the store....
iPad Pro OLED Feature 2

Apple's Upcoming OLED iPad Pro Models Rumored to Be Much Thinner

Tuesday February 20, 2024 1:39 pm PST by
Apple is planning to update the iPad Air and iPad Pro lineups as soon as March, and the new iPad Pro models will be significantly thinner according to dimensions shared by 9to5Mac. Citing sources with knowledge of Apple's plans, the site claims that the larger version will be more than 1mm thinner. The current 12.9-inch iPad Pro measures in at 6.4mm thick, but the new model is said to be 5mm ...
Oled iPads and MackBook Pro Notch

Apple's OLED Roadmap: New iPad Mini, Foldable iPad Pro, and More

Wednesday February 21, 2024 5:29 am PST by
Apple is planning to launch at least nine new devices with OLED displays across the iPad and MacBook product lines, according to an updated forecast from research firm Omdia that sets out the company's plans in detail. As widely rumored, Apple's push to transition to OLED will apparently be jump-started by the release of new 11- and 13-inch iPad Pro models this year. The displays will...
apple wallet drivers license feature

Apple Said iPhone Driver's Licenses Will Expand to These 8 U.S. States

Monday February 12, 2024 7:51 am PST by
In 2021, Apple introduced a feature that lets residents of participating U.S. states add their driver's license or ID to the Wallet app on the iPhone and Apple Watch, providing a convenient and contactless way to display proof of identity or age. Unfortunately, states have been slow to adopt the feature since it was first announced in September 2021, with IDs in the Wallet app only available ...