This year's iPad Pro (or iPad 2020, as we've taken to calling it) is sure to have a lot of great advancements. We've heard production has already begun, and it's likely it could be sporting an all-new stylus with haptic feedback capabilities to take on the Samsung Galaxy Note 20's revamped S Pen.
However, a new production leak has revealed that a Taiwanese company has won a contract to start supplying Apple with screens boasting a new technology, which will improve the screen's vibrancy and brightness and colours compared to rivals still sporting OLED screens.
Taiwan's Economic Daily News (opens in new tab) has confirmed Innolux will supply Mini-LED panels for Apple's new iPad Pro, to be released in the third quarter of 2020 according to Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo (opens in new tab).
Mini-LED screens are backlit by smaller LEDs that are packed closer together, creating the effect of brighter screens and more vivid colours. Clusters of LEDs can be dimmed (known as "dimming zones") according to the information they receive, creating greater color control, variety and increased brightness compared to OLED screens (opens in new tab), as well as being (eventually) cheaper to make.
That means a better-looking image and video on your iPad, richer colors onscreen and a cheaper price point. This will be vital to those who use their iPad in a creative way, as everyone from photographers to graphic designers will be able to view and adjust their work like never before.
However, OLED's deep blacks that don't rely on a backlight might be difficult to replicate with Mini-LEDs, although the technology is still in its infancy.
It's not just for creative professionals, either: everyone who streams movies or TV on their iPad, plays games, looks up recipes or just scrolls through YouTube is set to take advantage of the rich colors of Mini-LED displays. As the technology begins to become more commonplace, Mini-LEDs could phase out OLED as it has the potential to provide (mostly) better results at a cheaper price.
It's worth noting that Mini-LED screens should not be conflated with MicroLED screens, which pack in lights on an even smaller scale. A very expensive way to create iPads, MacBooks and Apple TVs due to the sheer amount of tiny LEDs and circuitry required thereof, it's thought MicroLEDs will first come into play to create the same vibrancy on a smaller scale with the Apple Watch Series 6. However, other companies such as Samsung are making ultra-premium, supersize MicroLED TVs.
Although there are rumours the first iPad 2020 could launch as early as this spring, most big Apple launches generally occur in the fall, with last year's falling in the month of September. Spring is too soon to change things now, but if fall is the strategy Apple is going for, expect to see the next iPad Pro sporting a rich Mini-LED screen.