I have a feeling I’m going to end up eating my words.
So I have been pretty adamant that, short of splitting up iPad Pro sizes across several months, or creating an additional model, there is NO WAY that Apple would release upgraded iPad Pros twice in one year. However, despite my skepticism, the evidence that another iPad Pro is slated for a Fall release just keeps mounting.
Ming-Chi Kuo first reported that Apple was working on a new iPad Pro with a Mini-LED display for release in late 2020 back in December. Now we have a new report from Chinese-language site UDN (via 9to5Mac) that this work is progressing. According to 9to5’s English translation:
Innolux Mini LED has made a breakthrough. It is said that it has already had samples approved by Apple and is preparing to make displays for the latest iPad Pro tablet to be launched in the second half of the year.
Innolux has never won an Apple order before. It is understood that Innolux made a lot of effort to win orders for Apple’s Mini LED, investing heavily in research and development.
Interesting. Very interesting. Maybe Apple is going to split their iPad Pro releases, with one size in the Spring and one in the Fall. That seems odd, but it’s possible. Maybe this Mini-LED version will be a new, even more “pro,” Pro model. This seems more plausible to me. I still don’t think that Apple will release new iPad Pros in a few weeks only to upgrade the same devices within the same year. But there is too much smoke here for me to believe there isn’t any fire. However Apple goes about it, unless the device is delayed because of issues or COVID-19, I now believe we will see another iPad Pro with this new screen type late this year.
On that subject, this is not a completely new screen technology. Mini-LED is more of an advance in the backlighting of LCD screens than a new screen type. However, it is still a significant advancement that could make a difference for devices too large for OLED to be practical. It adds hundreds of LEDs that are both smaller and more energy efficient. This allows the production of LCD screens that are brighter, thinner and more battery-friendly than OLED. That’s a pretty powerful combo. Combine this new Mini-LED screen with a A14X processor and 5G, this rumored iPad Pro would be one beast of a machine. Sign me up.