iPad Pro rumors have been like a tennis match the last couple of years- back and forth and all over the place. There were rumors one would come late last year. That obviously didn’t happen, but we did get a slight refresh in the Spring. Very slight, but that’s ok. As early as last year, we also started hearing rumors of Mini-LED displays and 5G coming to the Pro line.
Most of those reports pointed to the second half of this year until COVID hit. Once supply chains came off the tracks this last Spring and it became clear that this was a pandemic that would affect the entire globe, those release predictions started to understandably slip. Because of this, it’s been the expectation for a while that a new iPad Pro wouldn’t arrive until sometime in 2021.
Until last week, that is. Last Wednesday, well known supply chain leaker Ming-Chi Kuo released a report that conflicted with what had been a pretty consistent narrative. He believes that, despite some early yield setbacks, Mini-LED development is ahead of schedule, alternate suppliers are ready to come on board, and that this year’s production will be focused on a new iPad Pro, rather than a MacBook Pro.
Normally I would be very skeptical of such a claim, but Kuo is well-known and respected and is also the best of the supply chain-focused Apple leakers, in my opinion. If he says something is happening on the production end in Southeast Asia, it’s probably true.
However, Kuo also isn’t the only name in Apple supply chain leaks. A couple of days ago, DigiTimes released a report that also touches on the Mini-LED iPad Pro. While the article is mostly focused on other Mini-LED suppliers that are coming online, it clearly states that they expect the new iPad Pro to arrive in early 2021.
It’s interesting that both Kuo’s and DigiTimes’ reports agree on Osram Opto being a new Mini-LED supplier and that they will start providing displays to Apple next year. They also both mention that primary supplier Epistar is working on overcoming some current struggles with yields. Kuo and DigiTimes just disagree on the release date for the new Pro.
Normally, I would take Kuo over DigiTimes when it comes to something like this. It’s not that DigiTimes is a poor source, mind you. However, they do tend to report EVERYTHING in the supply chain, which sometimes includes information about testing, prototypes and things that don’t make it into full production. Because of that, some of what they report never ends up coming to store shelves. However, there is certainly value in that kind of detail when looking at what supply chains are up to. It’s a very different perspective, as Mr Kuo is usually forcing on what is in Apple’s production pipeline.
Because of how DigiTimes does things and how focused Kuo is on Apple, like I said, I would normally favor what he predicts. However, he is still the outlier in this case. Because all other recent predictions have been for the Mini-LED iPad Pro to come in 2021, I’m going to have to go with DigiTimes in this one. Now if some other heavy hitters like Gurman or Prosser back late 2020 for an iPad Pro release date, that will change things. Until then, don’t expect a new iPad Pro for Christmas.