Courtesy of a couple of reports from Ming-Chi Kuo, the iPad Pro has re-joined the Apple rumor carousel. It seems that the company and it’s manufacturing partners are having some success getting Mini-LED ready for prime time, and the iPad Pro may be the first device to benefit from that. Well, sort of.
According to Kuo there is both good news and bad news. The good news is that Sanan, Apple’s second Mini-LED partner, is ahead of schedule by as much as a year and will be providing displays in 2021 instead of 2022. That, in turn, will make more production possible and will drive unit prices down. That should mean Mini-LED finds its way into more Apple products next year.
At the same time, Kuo says that Apple’s primary Mini-LED display partner is lagging a bit at the moment. Epistar has experienced some yield issues and that is expected to result in fewer units produced this year. That certainly isn’t good news, but what’s more interesting is the bit that came after:
Apple’s mini LED dies will be mass-produced in 4Q20, but due to yield issues related to the production process of display module materials, the 4Q20 display shipments have been revised down by 50% to 300,000-400,000. We believe that the mini LED display in 4Q20 will be used for the new iPad Pro.
So after numerous predictions that Apple’s 12.9″ Mini-LED iPad Pro would be pushed to sometime in the first half of 2021, now we get this news that it may be back on for the 4th quarter of this year. So what gives?
There were also previous reports that the first Apple Mini-LED device would be a MacBook Pro or iMac, also likely next year. That leaves me wondering if Apple could be shifting to the iPad Pro as the first Mini-LED device because of the lower early display yields that Kuo mentioned. He doesn’t specifically connect those dots, but while I and many other are huge fans of the 12.9″ iPad Pro, the smaller, less expensive iPads sell in higher numbers. Maybe this potential change could be because the large screen Pro fits what Apple will have on hand?
But that’s just a guess. And there is another potential scenario here. It could be that Apple is using the Mini-LED displays produced in the 4th quarter of 2020 to build devices that will be sold next year. Kuo’s comment is pretty vague, so that could still be the case.
All of this is all still just a rumor at this point, so take it all with a grain of salt. It will be interesting to see and hear what other prominent Apple leakers and analysts have to say about this one over the coming weeks. I’m sure some of them will weigh in soon. It shouldn’t be too long, because the beginning of the 4th quarter is just around the corner.
I know one thing for sure. If a new 12.9″ Mini-LED Pro is released before the end of the year, I’ll be on that day one. What about you? Let me know in the Comments section below or on Twitter @iPadInsightBlog.