Apple will use mini-LED backlighting in its upcoming hardware lineups, according to a new report.
The miniature LED chips will be 600 micrometers in size, or six tenths of a millimeter, according to DigiTimes, which cites prominent Apple-leaker Ming-Chi Kuo. According to Kuo, the chips are actually "quasi-mini" LEDs; they're larger than standard mini LEDs, but smaller than LEDs, which are often over a millimeter.
Mini LEDs (smaller than LEDs, but larger than Micro LEDs), can offer a number of display improvements. We may see better local dimming, more accurate color rendering, better contrast and even more categories of HDR. Mini LEDs can also accommodate very thin products due to their size.
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The mini LEDs will appear in a 31.6-inch monitor in the second or third quarter of 2019, a 10 to 12-inch iPad in the fourth quarter of 2020 or first quarter of 2021, and a 15 to 17-inch MacBook that we'll see in the first half of 2021. (DigiTimes incorrectly reported the monitor as an iMac, a discrepancy which MacRumors cleared up.)
Taiwanese diode manufacturer Epistar will supply at least some of the mini LEDs. LG display will provide LCD panels for the iPad, and Radiant Opto-Electronics will supply BLUs. All three companies will be involved in the MacBook.
Kuo also noted that new demand for these units will encourage suppliers to improve production and cost, meaning we could see these in more devices down the line.
While rumors are flying about new Apple products we'll see in 2019, hardware slated for 2020 and 2021 is still largely a mystery. We do know that Apple just reportedly cancelled a 16-inch MacBook Pro that was rumored to hit shelves this year. Mini LEDs could potentially help address the myriad issues that customers have with the current model's display, including its uneven backlighting.