Report: 5G Apple iPad Pro coming next quarter with improved display technology
According to an English-language report from Korea IT News, Apple has selected LG Display to supply it with mini LEDs for a new iPad Pro model. The newest version of Apple's premium tablet is expected to be released during the first quarter of next year. Mini LED is said to be a transition technology with micro LED not yet ready for prime time. LG will reportedly ship to Apple its LCD displays using Mini LED as the backlight.
The Mini LED backlight LCD screens deliver a better looking display that is brighter and sharper than currently used technology. They are also more power efficient. Besides the upcoming iPad Pro model, Apple supposedly plans on using these displays for other iPad models and the MacBook. A display industry spokesman says that "Starting with Apple, other IT device manufacturers will also follow Apple’s suit in using Mini LED backlight LCDs. This trend will bring huge changes to the global LCD market." Originally, the tech giant had hoped to release as many as six devices using Mini LED before the end of this year. However, the pandemic has forced Apple to push back its timeline.
The supply chain for these displays has been set with Taiwan based Epistar providing the Mini LEDs; another Taiwan firm, TSMT, will use Surface Mount Technology (SMT) to mount the Mini LEDs and LG Display will add its LCD screen and create the final version that is shipped to Apple's contract manufacturers. Mass production of the displays is expected to start at the end of this year.
During the summer, Twitter tipster L0vetodream said that new iPad Pro models would be launched in the first half of next year sporting a Mini LED display, a powerful 5nm A14X Bionic chipset and support for 5G. Others, including TF International's highly accurate analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, have forecast that the new tablet will carry a 12.9-inch display.
Thanks in part to the pandemic, tablets have become a must have device in many households where they are used by those working at home and by school-age children for distance learning. This demand could be seen in Apple's recently reported fiscal fourth quarter earnings which showed $9.03 billion in iPad sales, up a whopping 46% year-over-year. For fiscal 2020, Apple increased its tablet sales by 11.5% to $23.72 billion.