The next-gen iPad Pro will be Apple's first device to make use of the long-awaited Mini-LED display technology.
The source is respected Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, writing in a note to investors seen by AppleInsider. Kuo has made several Mini-LED predictions over the past year, but this latest one now claims we'll see the tech debut on Apple's premium tablet line in the fourth quarter of 2021 or in early 2022.
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Mini-LEDs are an improvement on regular LED displays because they use smaller diodes. This allows for better color and contrast than a normal display. Apple will reportedly move onto an even smaller Micro LED standard at some point, but this is going to be the peak of Apple's display technology for the next five years according to other analyses.
Earlier investor notes claimed that Apple would first implement Mini-LED on a MacBook or iMac that would release this year, with it later being rolled out on Apple's full range of iPads. However, as a result of COVID-related disruptions, the devices have been pushed back to 2021.
In addition, fewer Mini-LED displays will be made. The production estimates made by Apple's supply partners has been reduced by half, apparently due to problems in manufacturing. However Apple is also looking to diversify the number of companies making this display, which will increase output and lower the cost. The displays will reportedly cost 50% less by 2021, and a further 35% less between 2021 and 2022.
Kuo also details how Apple likely owns most of the patents relating to these displays, and has been in charge of designing them, too. This sounds very similar to the company's attitude towards other technology, such as ditching Intel chipsets to develop Apple Silicon. It allows Apple more control over the parts it uses in its devices, which is important if you want to remain the biggest tech company in the world.
If you don't want to wait until next year for your next Apple tablet, fortunately the company's current crop of slates is still very good. The new iPad 2020 and new iPad Air are two of our new favorite tablets, as is the iPad Pro from earlier in the year.