Brace yourselves, a flood of OLED Apple iPads is coming... eventually
While Apple may still have a couple of additional iPad models left to unveil by the end of 2021, it really shouldn't come as a big surprise that a number of reliable insiders, tipsters, leakers, and publications are already talking about the company's plans for 2022... and beyond.
After all, the global market leader's intentions to (eventually) adopt groundbreaking mini-LED display technology have been one of the industry's worst-kept secrets for a very long time, and it obviously makes sense for even more iPads to ditch traditional LCD panels in the not-too-distant future.
The transition will continue next year
Of course, mini-LED and OLED are not quite the same thing, and contrary to a wild rumor from over a year ago, Apple might not be ready to upgrade its non-Pro tablets to the former technology earlier than a few years down the line. Instead, Korea's ETNews expects "some iPad models in 2022" to make the OLED leap, thus aiming to improve everything from the overall image quality to the weight of tomorrow's screens.
iPad Air will be followed by another LCD version at some point this year and then an OLED sixth-gen near the end of 2022 or if Apple plans to wait until early next year to go straight to an LCD-less model.Although this speculative new report is annoyingly light on details regarding these next-gen "iPad models", common sense dictates one of the products will be Air-branded. It remains to be seen if 2020's fourth-gen LCD
iPad Air (2020)
The latter theory is supported by a Digitimes report from a couple of months back, but as a rule of thumb, it's not exactly wise to wholeheartedly trust the Taiwanese publication, especially when making such distant forecasts.
Circling back to what ETNews is predicting today, we should point out that the OLED iPad expansion is tipped to happen "in earnest" no sooner than 2023. In other words, cash-strapped fans of Apple's immensely successful slates might need to wait a couple more generations before being able to buy regular and pint-sized iPads with higher-quality displays.
iPad mini may not be refreshed every year between now and 2023, so the first diminutive Apple tablet to switch from LCD to OLED screen technology could even directly follow in the footsteps of the 2019-released fifth-gener.Then again, much like the iPad Air, the 7.9-inch
LCD iPads will still be a thing through 2023 and possibly beyond
If the Cupertino-based tech giant does decide to upgrade its entire iPad lineup to OLED and/or mini-LED displays by 2023, next year's supply chain movement will essentially and prematurely set everything in stone.
Given Apple's crushing supremacy over all other tablet manufacturers around the world, such a transition will require an unprecedented effort from various parts suppliers, with said effort likely to make headlines before long. Unsurprisingly, Samsung and LG are expected to share the bulk of these display production orders, as is already the case as far as iPhones are concerned.
Speaking of, Apple's rumored OLED iPad adoption timeline sounds a lot like how the company gradually transitioned from lower-quality LCD to vastly superior handset panels between 2017 and 2020.
It's easy to draw a parallel between the road-opening iPhone X and iPad Pro 12.9 (2021), but we're curious to see if 2019's iPhone 11 will get an equivalent in a low-cost iPad or iPad mini of sorts with an LCD screen in tow in 2023.
Unfortunately, it's obviously hard to confidently predict anything else about Apple's 2022 and 2023 iPads right now, although the next 11-inch Pro generation is likely to embrace its big brother's mini-LED display technology, and sooner or later, the iPad Air has to jump on the Face ID bandwagon.