2020: Apple to Launch New 12.9″ iPad Pro, 16″ MacBook Pro with Mini-LEDs
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What Is Mini-LED?
Mini-LEDs are similar to standard size LEDs, which provide backlighting for a display panel but are actually much smaller. That allows for more mini-LEDs to be used on a display, which translates to a handful of significant real-world benefits.
Benefits of Mini-LED
Compared to current display technology, mini-LEDs should offer richer and wider color gamuts, higher contrast ratios and improved dynamic range. Mini-LED displays are also much more color-accurate, consistent, and generally deliver an overall better picture quality.
According to Kuo, the new mini-LED displays will “significantly improve productivity and the entertainment” experience. He didn’t elaborate on what that means, however.
In past research notes, Kuo also indicated that the use of mini-LED displays could allow Apple to build thinner and lighter products without sacrificing any of the benefits of standard OLED panels.
Looking at Apple’s current form factors, that suggests more internal space for other components.
Which Apple Products Are Getting Mini-LED Displays?
Kuo says that Apple is planning on releasing four to six different products with mini-LED displays over the next two to three years.
That includes a premium 12.9-inch iPad Pro that sports an A14X chipset, which Apple will release in the third quarter of 2020.
Next year’s successor to the 16-inch MacBook Pro is also expected to switch to mini-LED in the fourth quarter.
The analyst also noted in past reports that future MacBook and iPad models could use around 10,000 mini-LEDs — each one smaller than 200 microns in size. That’s significantly more LEDs than the 576 included in Apple’s upcoming Pro Display XDR.
Interestingly, today’s research note, Kuo basically confirmed that Apple will “expedite” its adopting of mini-LED technology. That appears to be because a 2020 release is on the earlier side of Kuo’s past forecasts.
It isn’t clear what other devices will be switched to the mini-LED tech in the following years, but more MacBook and iPad models are likely to adopt the new tech as time goes on.
What About Other iPad Pros?
At this point, it’s worth noting that this timeline does appear to throw a wrench in our past iPad Pro expectations.
There have been a slew of reports and rumors suggesting that Apple would refresh its 11- and 12.9-inch iPad Pro devices in the first half of next year, likely with a 3D ToF camera and other upgrades.
It isn’t clear if Apple is going to refrain from updating the iPad Pro early next year, or if the aforementioned 12.9-inch tablet will be a separate iPad.