Apple has reportedly delayed the Mini-LED 5G iPad Pro until early 2021
UPDATE:Economic Daily News has today corroborated Apple's decision to delay the first Mini-LED iPad Pro until early 2021. But unlike other publications, it believes this model is also the 5G iPad Pro that was rumored for later this year. The updated story continues below:
The 2020 iPad Pro lineup Apple introduced in mid-March was meant to be accompanied by a superior 5G model later this year complete with a series of improvements including a major display upgrade. Unfortunately, EDN and one reliable analyst say the device has now been delayed.
The complex iPad Pro display is causing issues
Modern iPhone and Apple Watch devices incorporate OLED screens as standard, the only exception being the newly announced iPhone SE. Every iPad model, on the other hand, features an LCD display regardless of the price.
People have called for an upgrade to OLED over the years but the company has shown little interest. The reason being that Apple plans to skip the technology in favor of the newer, but not superior Mini-LED implementation it has been working on for quite some time.
Reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said in December than an iPad Pro model with the new screen would debut this year, likely alongside the iPhone 12 series. Unfortunately, analyst Jeff Pu now believes it has been delayed until 2021 because of the “complex panel design.”
The analyst in question failed to go into detail, but the decision could have something to do with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Apple employees are currently working from home and, although some are continuing work on prototype products, workflow efficiency has likely dropped.
With a product as important as the Mini-LED iPad Pro, which would represent arguably the biggest upgrade to the lineup since 2018, Apple has probably decided that rushing the launch isn’t worth the risk.
Mini-LED could be paired with 5G and a redesign
These latest claims corroborate the information shared by tipster Jon Prosser one month ago. However, he also said Apple is planning a separate 5G iPad Pro equipped with an LCD screen and the A14X Bionic for later this year, something EDN disagrees with.
The latter says the now-delayed Mini-LED iPad Pro is actually the 5G iPad Pro that has been rumored for quite some time. That would make a lot of sense because Apple is expected to pair Mini-LED with an important redesign that could see the introduction of even slimmer bezels and possibly some modifications to the rear panel.
This would help better differentiate future iPad Pro models from the next-generation iPad Air, which is expected to debut later this year with a Mini-LED display and slim iPad Pro-like bezels.
The standard iPad and iPad Mini are, however, expected to retain their existing design language and the physical home button.
Mini-LED 5G iPad Pro announcement timeline
Apple typically waits around 18 months before upgrading its iPad Pro lineup. Taking that into consideration, the earliest date for a redesigned iPad Pro complete with a Mini-LED display should be September or October 2021. However, Jeff Pu and EDN believe the tablets will make an appearance in "early 2021."
That may seem odd, but Apple waited only 13 months between the second-gen and third-gen iPad Pro lineup announcements. Theoretically, it means the 2021 Mini-LED iPad Pro lineup could instead make an appearance at WWDC 2021 in June.
Anything earlier than that – a launch in March alongside the iPhone SE Plus, for example – seems extremely unlikely, though, because it would involve replacing the existing models after only one year.