iPad Pro will be Apple's first Mini LED device, Kuo says

Posted:
in General Discussion edited September 2020
Apple's plans to integrate Mini LED displays into its various product lines continue to see disruptions from an unstable supply chain, with TF Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicting iPad Pro to be the first to benefit from the technology.

iPad Pro


In a note to investors on Wednesday, Kuo said he believes iPad Pro will be the first Apple device to sport a Mini LED display. It was previously speculated that the distinction would go to a revamped MacBook Pro or iMac.

Suppliers are readying dies for production in the fourth quarter of 2020, the analyst said, though recent supply chain checks show revised down shipment volume estimates at between 300,000 and 400,000 units. Down 50% from prior forecasts, the decreased output is said to be a result of issues relating to the production of display module materials.

With constrained resources as a backdrop, Apple appears to be leveraging its massive market weight to diversify its nascent Mini LED supply chain. Epistar remains a primary partner, and the company has developed a proprietary production optimization system while working with the tech giant, Kuo said.

"Apple is the global consumer electronics brand with the highest bargaining power over suppliers," Kuo writes. "In order to find new suppliers, and reduce supply risks and costs, we believe that Apple leads the design of most parts and owns related patents. Mini LED dies are no exception."

Epistar's patented process is viewed by some as a barrier to entry for potential secondary suppliers like Sanan Optoelectronics, Osram, and Seoul Semiconductor, but Kuo disagrees. In a previous investor note, the analyst said Sanan could enter Apple's supply chain as soon as the first half of 2021.

With Sanan in the mix, Apple's Mini LED die cost is expected to drop by about 50% year-over-year in 2021, and 35% year-over-year in 2022, according to today's note.

Kuo further expects a "fierce price war" between Apple and non-Apple Mini LED chip makers to kick off as the first products roll of the line this year.

"We believe that China's industrial chain (including downstream displays and upstream LED chips) will start a price war and gain a leading position in the mini LED market," Kuo writes. "The price war advantage will come from lower production costs, economies of scale and government subsidies."

Kuo was among the first to predict Apple's Mini LED release schedule, saying in March that a 12.9-inch iPad Pro, 10.2-inch iPad, 7.9-inch iPad mini, 27-inch iMac Pro, refreshed 16-inch MacBook Pro and all-new 14.1-inch MacBook Pro would debut with the tech by the end of 2020. That timeline was pushed back into 2021 as manufacturers reeled from fallout caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

A relatively new backlighting technology, Mini LED dies position thousands of LEDs behind an LCD screen to offer better local dimming, color reproduction and contrast ratios than conventional LED-backlit displays. Apple is forecast to rely on the technology for at least five years before moving on to more exotic solutions like micro LEDs.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 30
    OOOH AHHH UHHH WAHHH.
    The last overhyped screen tech after OLED - that didn’t get supported with always-on functions and hardly turned out to have any benefit at all. Apple always buys itself in some ultra-expensive screen dependency on 3rd parties without competitive benefits and then more or less drops it after a few years.
  • Reply 2 of 30
    OOOH AHHH UHHH WAHHH.
    The last overhyped screen tech after OLED - that didn’t get supported with always-on functions and hardly turned out to have any benefit at all. Apple always buys itself in some ultra-expensive screen dependency on 3rd parties without competitive benefits and then more or less drops it after a few years.
    What are you talking about?  Mini-LED is essentially upgraded backlighting for LCD panels.  Apple's rumored use of mini-LED in iPads and Macs isn't related to it's use of OLED in iPhones and Apple Watches.
    randominternetpersonronntmaycaladanianrepressthisfastasleep
  • Reply 3 of 30
    A relatively new backlighting technology, Mini LED dies position thousands of LEDs behind an LCD screen to offer better local dimming, color reproduction and contrast ratios than conventional LED-backlit displays”.

    So more suited to TVs/monitors than small portable devices. The big advance will be displays that require a fraction of today’s power draw.
    juji yin
  • Reply 4 of 30
    It will be interesting to see how Apple's implementation of Mini LED for iPad Pro is handled vs what appears in 4K TV panels. One thing I've wondered about is the density of the Mini LEDs...will it be proportionally similar to TVs or will Apple have a higher density? 
    watto_cobrajuji yin
  • Reply 5 of 30
    Disappointing. iPad screens already look pretty great, it's the Mac displays that are suffering.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 30
    This page is prompting me to download some JavaScript. Why?

    watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 30
    This page is prompting me to download some JavaScript. Why?

    Eek. Send this to the editor!
    repressthiswatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 30
    Eric_WVGG said:
    Disappointing. iPad screens already look pretty great, it's the Mac displays that are suffering.
    Agree, but Apple needs ways to better distinguish the 11" iPad Pro from the just released Air, which is now the Pro's virtual equal for considerably less money. ProMotion ain't enough. MiniLED will help with that, although the degree to which it is "better" than already great screens is TBD. IMO, the main bottleneck to the iPad's future isn't the hardware, it's the iPad OS itself, which has been improving, no doubt, but still remains kludgy to work with as a laptop replacement. 
  • Reply 9 of 30
    OOOH AHHH UHHH WAHHH.
    The last overhyped screen tech after OLED - that didn’t get supported with always-on functions and hardly turned out to have any benefit at all. Apple always buys itself in some ultra-expensive screen dependency on 3rd parties without competitive benefits and then more or less drops it after a few years.
    Apple Watch does in fact have an always-on display, though that's not the sole reason to adopt OLED, nor something most people would care about when using a MacBook or iPad.  Among other benefits, OLED displays produce deeper blacks and consume less energy. 

    Maybe you should spend a bit of time researching before saying dumb things. 


    StrangeDayscaladanianrepressthiswatto_cobrafastasleep
  • Reply 10 of 30
    hentaiboy said:
    “A relatively new backlighting technology, Mini LED dies position thousands of LEDs behind an LCD screen to offer better local dimming, color reproduction and contrast ratios than conventional LED-backlit displays”.

    So more suited to TVs/monitors than small portable devices. The big advance will be displays that require a fraction of today’s power draw.
    Your conclusion that a display with better local dimming, color reproduction, and contrast ratios is better suited to TVs/monitors than mobile devices makes zero sense.  
    foregoneconclusioncaladanianwatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 30
    thttht Posts: 3,931member
    It will be interesting to see how Apple's implementation of Mini LED for iPad Pro is handled vs what appears in 4K TV panels. One thing I've wondered about is the density of the Mini LEDs...will it be proportionally similar to TVs or will Apple have a higher density? 
    How many lights do miniLED TVs have?

    Kuo is rumormongoring about 10,000 LED backlights for these miniLEDS going into next gen Apple products. If so, an iPad Pro 12.9 with such a panel would have a 560 pixels light by 1 backlight. At 264 ppi, that's about 0.09 x 0.09 inches per backlight. That's really good imo.
    repressthiswatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 30
    An iPad Pro that could also run Mac OS would be a dream machine for developers. Just saying.
    Oferne1
  • Reply 13 of 30
    charlesn said: Agree, but Apple needs ways to better distinguish the 11" iPad Pro from the just released Air, which is now the Pro's virtual equal for considerably less money. 
    Current iPad Pro advantages vs upcoming iPad Air: higher storage capacity (has 512 GB and 1 TB options), more speakers (4 vs 2), more microphones (5 vs 2), ProMotion 120 Mhz display, higher screen brightness (600 nits vs 500), True Tone flash, Wide & Ultra Wide lens capability, 2X optical and 5X digital zoom (Air has no optical or digital zoom), sapphire crystal lens cover, Face ID, LiDAR scanner, better GPU performance vs A14, better multicore performance vs A14.

    Not saying the upcoming iPad Air is a bad choice, but the current iPad Pro already has a lot of significant technology advantages. The next gen iPad Pro will include the Mini LED screen update + A14X SoC update + lens/camera resolution updates to add onto the other advantages the Pro line has in place already.
    edited September 2020 StrangeDaysrepressthiswatto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 30
    flydog said:
    hentaiboy said:
    “A relatively new backlighting technology, Mini LED dies position thousands of LEDs behind an LCD screen to offer better local dimming, color reproduction and contrast ratios than conventional LED-backlit displays”.

    So more suited to TVs/monitors than small portable devices. The big advance will be displays that require a fraction of today’s power draw.
    Your conclusion that a display with better local dimming, color reproduction, and contrast ratios is better suited to TVs/monitors than mobile devices makes zero sense.  
    AV Nerds notice that $h!t; not yer average iPad owner. But if it matters to you then neat.
    repressthis
  • Reply 15 of 30
    thttht Posts: 3,931member

    charlesn said:
    Eric_WVGG said:
    Disappointing. iPad screens already look pretty great, it's the Mac displays that are suffering.
    Agree, but Apple needs ways to better distinguish the 11" iPad Pro from the just released Air, which is now the Pro's virtual equal for considerably less money. ProMotion ain't enough. MiniLED will help with that, although the degree to which it is "better" than already great screens is TBD. IMO, the main bottleneck to the iPad's future isn't the hardware, it's the iPad OS itself, which has been improving, no doubt, but still remains kludgy to work with as a laptop replacement. 
    Yes, Apple really needs to get on with the iPadOS features and add in support for extended displays, overlapping windows, and VM support in some way. Since it is software, it should be supported by all the iPads that can run these features though. Segmentation however, is typically down to hardware, and software that can take advantage of the hardware differences. The options for hardware segmentation is virtually unlimited.

    The iPad Pros can go up in size to 11.5 and 13.5 inches. This would be the number 1 easiest way for buyers to see the difference, no explanation needed. miniLED should be distinguishable, in a dark room at least. The silicon will be bigger: faster single core, 2x the CPU cores, 2x the GPU cores, basically the typical "X" difference. They can have optional RAM amounts: 8 and 16 GB. They can have a 2 and 4 TB SSD tiers.

    They can have 2x the cameras, and higher performance cameras, both front and back. They can have 2x the USBC ports. Better yet, make it 2 TB3 ports. And the Smart Connector should be TB3 or USBC enabled. It will need 9 contact points though. An iPad Pro that can be magnetically connected to a dock that can charge the iPad Pro and be able to extend the screen to an external monitor, mount the accessories, etc, would be great. Along with OS feature updates, this would get it to being a tool for virtually everyone.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 30
    OOOH AHHH UHHH WAHHH.
    The last overhyped screen tech after OLED - that didn’t get supported with always-on functions and hardly turned out to have any benefit at all. Apple always buys itself in some ultra-expensive screen dependency on 3rd parties without competitive benefits and then more or less drops it after a few years.
    Mini-LED isn’t a replacement for OLED, it’s a less expensive alternative still reliant on backlighting. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 30
    tht said: How many lights do miniLED TVs have?
    It varies based on the price of the model you're buying. It could be multiple tens of thousands of Mini LEDs or only a thousand. The other thing is that Mini LEDs don't really have a set size. There's a range of sizes that would qualify as Mini LED, so if you go towards the smaller end of the range...that would get more Mini LEDs into a smaller screen size like the iPad Pro.
    edited September 2020 watto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 30
    tmaytmay Posts: 5,081member
    OOOH AHHH UHHH WAHHH.
    The last overhyped screen tech after OLED - that didn’t get supported with always-on functions and hardly turned out to have any benefit at all. Apple always buys itself in some ultra-expensive screen dependency on 3rd parties without competitive benefits and then more or less drops it after a few years.
    Mini-LED isn’t a replacement for OLED, it’s a less expensive alternative still reliant on backlighting. 
    I'd argue as well more stable color vs OLED over the product's life cycle.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 30
    tmay said:
    OOOH AHHH UHHH WAHHH.
    The last overhyped screen tech after OLED - that didn’t get supported with always-on functions and hardly turned out to have any benefit at all. Apple always buys itself in some ultra-expensive screen dependency on 3rd parties without competitive benefits and then more or less drops it after a few years.
    Mini-LED isn’t a replacement for OLED, it’s a less expensive alternative still reliant on backlighting. 
    I'd argue as well more stable color vs OLED over the product's life cycle.
    OLED never took off in PCs because of it.

    Do some iPhone X already suffer from screen burn-in?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 30
    This page is prompting me to download some JavaScript. Why?

    Eek. Send this to the editor!
    Yeah, together with a reminder that they are still snooping on our clipboards  :(
    watto_cobra
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