Supply chain gearing up for mini LED iPad, MacBooks, monitors

Posted:
in General Discussion edited March 2020
Apple will debut new MacBook Pro, iPad Pro, and new displays with mini LED displays by the end of 2020, according to a new supply chain report.

A mini LED maker has been tapped to provide orders for upcoming Apple products until June.
A Mini LED maker has been tapped to provide orders for upcoming Apple products until June.


Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said on Tuesday that Apple was developing at least six mini LED products to launch in 2020 and 2021. Kuo is expecting several new iPads, a refreshed iMac Pro and a new 14.1-inch MacBook Pro all sporting the technology.

On Thursday, a new supply chain report by DigiTimes is corroborating some parts of that prediction, indicating that Apple will adopt mini LED backlighting for a 12.9-inch iPad Pro, several Mac notebooks and a "few" LCD monitors. Taiwan-based supplier Epistar has reportedly been tapped to provide Mini LED chips to Apple, with orders scheduled for delivery in June.

It isn't clear if the DigiTimes report is independently sourced, or a repetition of Kuo's predictions. DigiTimes is a generally accurate source of movement within the supply chain, but has a notoriously poor track record predicting Apple product features, or release windows.

Reports of Apple making a switch to mini LED displays for some products started surfacing in 2019. While comparable to OLED displays, mini LED screens are said to do away with some of the burn-in and production issues of the industry-standard display technology. Used as a backlighting technology in LCD screens, mini LEDs can improve contrast ratios and power efficiency and offer OLED-style deep blacks.

Due to rumors of upcoming mini LED-equipped Apple products, DigiTimes indicates that other manufacturers are concerned that Epistar will give supply priority to the Cupertino tech titan.

Along with Epistar, Kuo previously suggested that Apple could be eyeing other suppliers such as GIS, TSMT and Osram.

In addition to mini LED, Apple is also thought to be exploring Micro LED displays for future products. Back in 2018, the company acquired LuxVue, a Micro LED panel maker. And since 2015, Apple has been researching the technology in-house.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 17
    wood1208wood1208 Posts: 2,920member
    Would be short term disappointment if Apple releases 14.1" Macbook Pro but not 14.1" Macbook Air at the same time.
  • Reply 2 of 17
    BeatsBeats Posts: 3,073member
    Apple needs to kill it with these new displays OLED has too many problems. OLED sucks. 
  • Reply 3 of 17
    Mini LED displays are not “comparable to OLED”. They’re just LCD displays with many local dimming zones. 
    CloudTalkinStrangeDaysjony0
  • Reply 4 of 17
    boltsfan17boltsfan17 Posts: 2,294member
    joechilds said:
    Mini LED displays are not “comparable to OLED”. They’re just LCD displays with many local dimming zones. 
    Yep, Mini LED is just an advanced version of LCD. Main difference is just way more mini LED's on the backlight compared to a traditional LCD display. 
    StrangeDays
  • Reply 5 of 17
    wood1208wood1208 Posts: 2,920member
    joechilds said:
    Mini LED displays are not “comparable to OLED”. They’re just LCD displays with many local dimming zones. 
    Yep, Mini LED is just an advanced version of LCD. Main difference is just way more mini LED's on the backlight compared to a traditional LCD display. 

    Comfort is at-least better than current LCDs on iPADs,Macbook/s. By 2022, microLED will come along which projected to be better than OLED.
  • Reply 6 of 17
    boltsfan17boltsfan17 Posts: 2,294member
    wood1208 said:
    joechilds said:
    Mini LED displays are not “comparable to OLED”. They’re just LCD displays with many local dimming zones. 
    Yep, Mini LED is just an advanced version of LCD. Main difference is just way more mini LED's on the backlight compared to a traditional LCD display. 

    Comfort is at-least better than current LCDs on iPADs,Macbook/s. By 2022, microLED will come along which projected to be better than OLED.
    True. I can't wait until microLED is here. OLED picture quality is great but burn in remains a huge issue. One of my OLED TV's has pretty severe burn in. No burn in with microLED. From my understanding, the cost to manufacture microLED is still very expensive. 
  • Reply 7 of 17
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 12,936member
    wood1208 said:
    joechilds said:
    Mini LED displays are not “comparable to OLED”. They’re just LCD displays with many local dimming zones. 
    Yep, Mini LED is just an advanced version of LCD. Main difference is just way more mini LED's on the backlight compared to a traditional LCD display. 

    Comfort is at-least better than current LCDs on iPADs,Macbook/s. By 2022, microLED will come along which projected to be better than OLED.
    True. I can't wait until microLED is here. OLED picture quality is great but burn in remains a huge issue. One of my OLED TV's has pretty severe burn in. No burn in with microLED. From my understanding, the cost to manufacture microLED is still very expensive. 
    What sort of use produces OLED burn in? I recall people said that about plasma but by the time I got my Panasonic plasma I've never seen it. I was thinking I may replace it for OLED this spring since it's small by today's standards. 
  • Reply 8 of 17
    wood1208 said:
    joechilds said:
    Mini LED displays are not “comparable to OLED”. They’re just LCD displays with many local dimming zones. 
    Yep, Mini LED is just an advanced version of LCD. Main difference is just way more mini LED's on the backlight compared to a traditional LCD display. 

    Comfort is at-least better than current LCDs on iPADs,Macbook/s. By 2022, microLED will come along which projected to be better than OLED.
    True. I can't wait until microLED is here. OLED picture quality is great but burn in remains a huge issue. One of my OLED TV's has pretty severe burn in. No burn in with microLED. From my understanding, the cost to manufacture microLED is still very expensive. 
    What sort of use produces OLED burn in? I recall people said that about plasma but by the time I got my Panasonic plasma I've never seen it. I was thinking I may replace it for OLED this spring since it's small by today's standards. 
    People who watch hours of news like CNN, Fox or hours of sports on ESPN and the like can get bad burn.  The static white in the crawl and the static logos are the usual suspects along with games being paused for a long time on stationary images.  Modern OLED is a lot better at fighting it with pixel shift and refresh when the panel is off (essentially in standby mode).  It's better, but it's not immune.  Older OLED's didn't employ those techniques so they were a lot more susceptible.  If you get a modern OLED it will be pretty hard to cause burn in.  The TV's have profiles based on content so unless you have the TV on for hours you should be fairly safe.  
    StrangeDays
  • Reply 9 of 17
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 3,965member
    joechilds said:
    Mini LED displays are not “comparable to OLED”. They’re just LCD displays with many local dimming zones. 
    My wife has an iPhone 11 (LCD screen.) I have a Xs (OLED.) For routine use I have yet to find anyone who notices a significant difference between them. Granted smartphone use is different from tablet vs display monitor vs television use, but I would still say for many people LCD is already comparable to OLED.
  • Reply 10 of 17
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 12,936member
    MplsP said:
    joechilds said:
    Mini LED displays are not “comparable to OLED”. They’re just LCD displays with many local dimming zones. 
    My wife has an iPhone 11 (LCD screen.) I have a Xs (OLED.) For routine use I have yet to find anyone who notices a significant difference between them. Granted smartphone use is different from tablet vs display monitor vs television use, but I would still say for many people LCD is already comparable to OLED.
    Phones are a far cry from televisions. LCD is not comparable to plasma or OLED for quality video playback. If you're into film this is immediately recognizable. But as you said, most normals don't care, thus the bigger market for less-quality LCD. Fine for sports and sitcoms, but the black levels aren't as good as picture elements that illuminate themselves as on CRT, plasma, OLED, etc. Watching a dark film this becomes readily apparently, edge blooming, etc.
    edited March 2020
  • Reply 11 of 17
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,407member
    DigiTimes AND Ming-Chi Kuo in one story? Oh, dear.
  • Reply 12 of 17
    blah64blah64 Posts: 993member
    wood1208 said:
    joechilds said:
    Mini LED displays are not “comparable to OLED”. They’re just LCD displays with many local dimming zones. 
    Yep, Mini LED is just an advanced version of LCD. Main difference is just way more mini LED's on the backlight compared to a traditional LCD display. 

    Comfort is at-least better than current LCDs on iPADs,Macbook/s. By 2022, microLED will come along which projected to be better than OLED.
    "comfort" huh?  eye-comfort?

    I do have a real question for people here.  Too much on my plate right now to dig in deep, but is there any chance that mini LEDs will provide any easier way for Apple to make non-reflective screens again?  I'm still on a 2012 MacBook Pro, and Apple hasn't built a laptop that I can use in almost 8 years.  Price is not an issue, within reason, but I can't use the mirrored displays.
  • Reply 13 of 17
    blah64 said:
    wood1208 said:
    joechilds said:
    Mini LED displays are not “comparable to OLED”. They’re just LCD displays with many local dimming zones. 
    Yep, Mini LED is just an advanced version of LCD. Main difference is just way more mini LED's on the backlight compared to a traditional LCD display. 

    Comfort is at-least better than current LCDs on iPADs,Macbook/s. By 2022, microLED will come along which projected to be better than OLED.
    "comfort" huh?  eye-comfort?

    I do have a real question for people here.  Too much on my plate right now to dig in deep, but is there any chance that mini LEDs will provide any easier way for Apple to make non-reflective screens again?  I'm still on a 2012 MacBook Pro, and Apple hasn't built a laptop that I can use in almost 8 years.  Price is not an issue, within reason, but I can't use the mirrored displays.
    Mini LED's would have no affect on screen reflectance.  Mini LED is a backlight array behind the LCD layer.  Screen reflectance is typically handled in the cover glass.  

    You can always buy your laptop of choice and purchase a matte glass screen protector.  They are plentiful.
    edited March 2020
  • Reply 14 of 17
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 3,965member
    MplsP said:
    joechilds said:
    Mini LED displays are not “comparable to OLED”. They’re just LCD displays with many local dimming zones. 
    My wife has an iPhone 11 (LCD screen.) I have a Xs (OLED.) For routine use I have yet to find anyone who notices a significant difference between them. Granted smartphone use is different from tablet vs display monitor vs television use, but I would still say for many people LCD is already comparable to OLED.
    Phones are a far cry from televisions. LCD is not comparable to plasma or OLED for quality video playback. If you're into film this is immediately recognizable. But as you said, most normals don't care, thus the bigger market for less-quality LCD. Fine for sports and sitcoms, but the black levels aren't as good as picture elements that illuminate themselves as on CRT, plasma, OLED, etc. Watching a dark film this becomes readily apparently, edge blooming, etc.
    As you said, a lot depends on the use and the user. Videophiles obsess over things that many people never notice. When I was shopping for a new TV I read reviews and comparisons, etc, then went to Best Buy and compared. What I realized was that for me, while I could see a difference between two images side by side, I would not notice the difference when I was watching a movie in the basement, and it they weren't worth an additional $600 to me. For others it may be but I think many people get swept up  in the reviews and convinced that they care about things that ultimately don't matter to them. It's not unlike wine - some people are happy with a $15 bottle and others want a $50 or $100 bottle. Others buy the $50 bottle because they think it's better but can't tell the difference.

    Mini LED will still be LED, but should help with some things like edge blooming; I view it as an incremental improvement for an established technology that is more readily available than OLED (and certainly microLED.)
  • Reply 15 of 17
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 12,936member
    MplsP said:
    MplsP said:
    joechilds said:
    Mini LED displays are not “comparable to OLED”. They’re just LCD displays with many local dimming zones. 
    My wife has an iPhone 11 (LCD screen.) I have a Xs (OLED.) For routine use I have yet to find anyone who notices a significant difference between them. Granted smartphone use is different from tablet vs display monitor vs television use, but I would still say for many people LCD is already comparable to OLED.
    Phones are a far cry from televisions. LCD is not comparable to plasma or OLED for quality video playback. If you're into film this is immediately recognizable. But as you said, most normals don't care, thus the bigger market for less-quality LCD. Fine for sports and sitcoms, but the black levels aren't as good as picture elements that illuminate themselves as on CRT, plasma, OLED, etc. Watching a dark film this becomes readily apparently, edge blooming, etc.
    As you said, a lot depends on the use and the user. Videophiles obsess over things that many people never notice. When I was shopping for a new TV I read reviews and comparisons, etc, then went to Best Buy and compared. What I realized was that for me, while I could see a difference between two images side by side, I would not notice the difference when I was watching a movie in the basement, and it they weren't worth an additional $600 to me. For others it may be but I think many people get swept up  in the reviews and convinced that they care about things that ultimately don't matter to them. It's not unlike wine - some people are happy with a $15 bottle and others want a $50 or $100 bottle. Others buy the $50 bottle because they think it's better but can't tell the difference.

    Mini LED will still be LED, but should help with some things like edge blooming; I view it as an incremental improvement for an established technology that is more readily available than OLED (and certainly microLED.)
    Yeah good summary. It's incremental, better, less expensive... Until self-illuminating pixels become cheaper it will be good-enough for most in the mass market.
  • Reply 16 of 17
    blah64blah64 Posts: 993member
    @cloud, that's what I was guessing, just didn't know if there might be any miniLED characteristics that would make it more likely to not have the glass cover that reflects like a g'damn mirror. :-( I appreciate the suggestion, but the matte overlays end up introducing a different kind of artifact that's almost as bad as the reflections. If you know of a specific one that's vastly better than the rest, I'm open to exploring, but I looked at them a couple years ago and found nothing even close to acceptable. I'm not going to engage in the ridiculous flame wars that have already gone around and around and around, but for me *personally* (stating this in a way that is unarguable), other than speed, the MacBook Pros newer than 2012 have zero advantages and a bunch of disadvantages. It's been really disappointing, after being a dev for so many years and actually looking forward to spending big bucks on new laptops every 18 months on average. Now, zero interest.
  • Reply 17 of 17
    boltsfan17boltsfan17 Posts: 2,294member
    wood1208 said:
    joechilds said:
    Mini LED displays are not “comparable to OLED”. They’re just LCD displays with many local dimming zones. 
    Yep, Mini LED is just an advanced version of LCD. Main difference is just way more mini LED's on the backlight compared to a traditional LCD display. 

    Comfort is at-least better than current LCDs on iPADs,Macbook/s. By 2022, microLED will come along which projected to be better than OLED.
    True. I can't wait until microLED is here. OLED picture quality is great but burn in remains a huge issue. One of my OLED TV's has pretty severe burn in. No burn in with microLED. From my understanding, the cost to manufacture microLED is still very expensive. 
    What sort of use produces OLED burn in? I recall people said that about plasma but by the time I got my Panasonic plasma I've never seen it. I was thinking I may replace it for OLED this spring since it's small by today's standards. 
    Sorry for the late reply. A single static image left on for a long period of time can cause burn in. For example, channel logos, score tickers, or scoreboard can all cause burn in on an OLED. So if you watch a lot of sports, the channel logo or scoreboard can eventually cause burn in. On one of my LG OLED's, the burn in is pretty bad. I have several channel logos burned in (National Geographic and ESPN logos) as well as the Playstation menu buttons from gaming. The weird thing is the TV with the burn in is newer than my other LG OLED which has none. Viewing habits have been the same on both TV's. I'm on the fence about what to do since the one LG has become unwatchable due to burn in. I don't want to replace it for the same thing to happen again. 
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