Prescient analyst says Apple will mass produce iPad Pro with mini-LED display next month; 5G unclear
Yesterday we told you that the next series of Apple iPad Pro tablets could be introduced next month (Mr. iPad Pro, meet Mr. Consumer aka Johnny Appleseed). News agencies such as Bloomberg and Twitter Tipsters like Jon Prosser are expecting 11-inch and 12.9-inch models (the latter sporting a mini-LED display), and the powerful M1 chipset with a whopping 16 billion transistors under the hood, this is the silicon that is being used on some Macs. There is speculation that the upcoming iPad Pro slates will come with the Thunderbolt port. Intel's Thunderbolt leader Jason Ziller said earlier this month, "I don't know if it (the Thunderbold port) would get into phones, but it's conceivable it could get into tablets."
Kuo says Apple will start mass production of the next iPad Pro with a mini-LED display next month
This morning, we can add the name of TF International analyst Ming-Chi Kuo to those weighing in on Apple's resurgent tablet business. Apple reported strong iPad sales for fiscal 2020 thanks to the pandemic and fiscal 2021 is off to a great start. Some businessmen stuck at home used them instead of a PC and kids were able to attend "virtual" classes using a tablet. And for people of all ages, the iPad was used for entertainment as users streamed movies, television shows, music, and more. Kuo told clients today that Apple will start mass production of mini-LED sporting iPad Pro tablets in mid-to-late April. Next year, the iPad line will start carrying OLED screens, according to the reliable analyst. The next iPad Air will reportedly be the first iPad with an OLED panel; ironically, there is some talk that the iPadPro will stick with LCD even after other iPad models are released with OLED displays. Kuo wrote in his note, "However, according to our latest industry survey, if the iPad adopts an OLED display in 2022, it will be the mid-/low-end iPad Air, while the high-end iPad Pro will still use a mini LED display."
Last October, Apple unveiled the fourth-generation iPad Air containing the same A14 Bionic chip as the one that powers the iPhone 12 series. The next iPad Air (which will be the fifth generation model, is rumored to be receiving a larger display than the 10.9-inch screen found on the newest model. Demand for the 4th-gen iPad Air was pretty strong right off the bat. Considering that somewhere along the line, we will see Apple add 5G connectivity to its tablets, we could see more strong demand for Apple's tablets in the months ahead.
The next Apple iPad Pro models could be unveiled as soon as next month
According to AppleInsider, Kuo wrote about the supply chain in his note "According to our latest survey, the current production yield and quality have reached Apple's high standards, so it is expected that assemblers will start mass production of mini LED iPads after mid-to-late April," Ming stated. Mini-LED panels use thousands of tiny LED backlights. Kuo's timeline dovetails perfectly with the rumors that we discussed earlier about an April release of the next iPad Pro series.
Kuo says that Apple has spent plenty of time and money on the new display technology and will use mini-LED as a differentiator for its productivity devices including a pair of MacBook Pro models this year and a MacBook Air next year. The analyst expects Apple to ship 10 million devices with a mini-LED display this year, expanding to a number between 20 million and 30 million next year.
It should be noted that it still is not clear whether the new iPad Pro models will support 5G. Apple introduced its first 5G iPhone models in September of last year and started releasing them during the following month. Originally it was thought that Apple would be holding its next new product event on March 23rd but it now appears as though April will be the earliest that this will take place.