iPad Pro mini LED-backlight expected in early 2021, MacBook later in year

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited September 2020
Apple will use mini LED for the backlight of a "high-end MacBook" in late 2021, a report claims, a device that will follow after the launch of a 12.9-inch iPad Pro using the display technology in early 2021.

MacBook Pro
MacBook Pro


Osram Opto Semiconductors is reportedly going to become Apple's second supplier of mini LED chips alongside Epistar, according to people familiar with the matter. The supply of mini LED chips from Osram will apparently start in 2021, with the chips intended for an updated MacBook model which would ship in the second half of 2021.

The industry sources of DigiTimes claim the 12.9-inch iPad Pro will use mini LED backlights, and will ship in early 2021, with each using over 10,000 mini LEDs. Epistar is thought to be ready to produce mini LEDs, with a production line for making blue-light LEDs modified for creating the smaller components during the third quarter of 2020.

The report's claim surrounding the iPad Pro model correlates with an earlier September 21 analyst note from Ming-Chi Kuo, which claimed Apple was sourcing mini LED chips for a future iPad model from more than one supplier. Epistar was previously thought to be the only provider of mini LED chips to Apple in 2021, but there have been rumblings of others being introduced to the supply chain.

Kuo also suggested the launch of a mini LED MacBook, though for release in 2020 rather than late 2021.

For the MacBook, Osram Opto is anticipated to be the supplier, following after it provided backlight-use LEDs for the Apple Watch and iPhone, with the expansion to MacBook mini LEDs being a natural extension. Osram is thought to have set up an initial monthly production capacity of 100 million LEDs at its plant in Malaysia.

Osram Opto isn't the only company that could become a second supplier of mini LED, as Sanan Optoelectronics is also in the process of being validated by Apple. Having multiple suppliers for a component is useful to Apple in a number of ways, including potentially cutting the cost of the component down as suppliers attempt to secure more orders.

In its bid to maintain its position, Epistar is also said to be aiming to increase its yield rates for mini LEDs, raising from under 80% to approximately 85% by Q4 2020, then to 90% or more in the first half of 2021. The increased yields should help reduce the cost of production per sold chip for Epistar.

DigiTimes has good sources within the supply chain. However, the publication's interpretation of Apple's future plans has a notably worse track record.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 18
    thttht Posts: 4,031member
    The wait is long.

    I actually thought I would replace this iPad Pro 10.5 after a year, but lo and behold, still typing on it.
    watto_cobrachasm
  • Reply 2 of 18
    tmaytmay Posts: 5,427member
    tht said:
    The wait is long.

    I actually thought I would replace this iPad Pro 10.5 after a year, but lo and behold, still typing on it.
    I'd guess by March, it will be available, and I'm certainly interested, but curious if it will be powered by an A14X
    ne1watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 18
    ne1ne1 Posts: 62member
    tmay said:
    tht said:
    The wait is long.

    I actually thought I would replace this iPad Pro 10.5 after a year, but lo and behold, still typing on it.
    I'd guess by March, it will be available, and I'm certainly interested, but curious if it will be powered by an A14X
    Seems like an awfully long time for Apple to sit on the older iPad Pros while the new iPad Air has the A14. It’s feasible due to Covid, but I still think there’s a slight chance of a speed bump before then. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 18
    ne1ne1 Posts: 62member
    tmay said:
    tht said:
    The wait is long.

    I actually thought I would replace this iPad Pro 10.5 after a year, but lo and behold, still typing on it.
    I'd guess by March, it will be available, and I'm certainly interested, but curious if it will be powered by an A14X
    Seems like an awfully long time for Apple to sit on the older iPad Pros while the new iPad Air has the A14. It’s feasible due to Covid, but I still think there’s a slight chance of a speed bump before then. 
  • Reply 5 of 18
    thttht Posts: 4,031member
    tmay said:
    tht said:
    The wait is long.

    I actually thought I would replace this iPad Pro 10.5 after a year, but lo and behold, still typing on it.
    I'd guess by March, it will be available, and I'm certainly interested, but curious if it will be powered by an A14X
    If it is "Pro" monikered, it's going to have an A14X (2x CPU, 2x GPU, 2x memory bandwidth), or a variant of a Macbook silicon. It's basically the same thing. Was hoping they would make the holidays for it, but it looks like the pandemic nuked any chance of that happening.

    The most important things to me are:
    1. miniLED display
    2. 8 GB of RAM (would hope they offer a 16 GB option)
    3. Extended display support for external displays with overlapping apps (really a software thing)
    4. Continued software keyboard refinement. Would like to have 3 row keyboard
    5. USB4/TB3 enabled Smart Connector and ports
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 18
    tmaytmay Posts: 5,427member
    tht said:
    tmay said:
    tht said:
    The wait is long.

    I actually thought I would replace this iPad Pro 10.5 after a year, but lo and behold, still typing on it.
    I'd guess by March, it will be available, and I'm certainly interested, but curious if it will be powered by an A14X
    If it is "Pro" monikered, it's going to have an A14X (2x CPU, 2x GPU, 2x memory bandwidth), or a variant of a Macbook silicon. It's basically the same thing. Was hoping they would make the holidays for it, but it looks like the pandemic nuked any chance of that happening.

    The most important things to me are:
    1. miniLED display
    2. 8 GB of RAM (would hope they offer a 16 GB option)
    3. Extended display support for external displays with overlapping apps (really a software thing)
    4. Continued software keyboard refinement. Would like to have 3 row keyboard
    5. USB4/TB3 enabled Smart Connector and ports
    1. seems to be assured
    2, I can see 8 GB or 16 GB but not both, so I expect 8 GB
    3. Will need to be a feature in the near future, but I don't expect it from Apple this spring
    4. I don't have an opinion on that
    5. Seems too early, but would be a massive hit with actual pro's, especially if 16 GB and external display (6K!) and GPU support. What's not to like?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 18
    netroxnetrox Posts: 1,050member
    tht said:
    tmay said:
    tht said:
    The wait is long.

    I actually thought I would replace this iPad Pro 10.5 after a year, but lo and behold, still typing on it.
    I'd guess by March, it will be available, and I'm certainly interested, but curious if it will be powered by an A14X
    If it is "Pro" monikered, it's going to have an A14X (2x CPU, 2x GPU, 2x memory bandwidth), or a variant of a Macbook silicon. It's basically the same thing. Was hoping they would make the holidays for it, but it looks like the pandemic nuked any chance of that happening.

    The most important things to me are:
    1. miniLED display
    2. 8 GB of RAM (would hope they offer a 16 GB option)
    3. Extended display support for external displays with overlapping apps (really a software thing)
    4. Continued software keyboard refinement. Would like to have 3 row keyboard
    5. USB4/TB3 enabled Smart Connector and ports
    The RAM is likely 8 GB or less. We now have NAND cells that are capable of transferring at blazing fast 7,000MB/s making RAM less and less important than ever. RAM was invented because of hard drives being too slow with access and slow transfer speed. If you got a storage that can transfer 7GB per second with fast access time, it gets harder to justify for more RAM that consumes more power and costs more. 
    watto_cobraGeorgeBMac
  • Reply 8 of 18
    thttht Posts: 4,031member
    netrox said:
    tht said:
    tmay said:
    tht said:
    The wait is long.

    I actually thought I would replace this iPad Pro 10.5 after a year, but lo and behold, still typing on it.
    I'd guess by March, it will be available, and I'm certainly interested, but curious if it will be powered by an A14X
    If it is "Pro" monikered, it's going to have an A14X (2x CPU, 2x GPU, 2x memory bandwidth), or a variant of a Macbook silicon. It's basically the same thing. Was hoping they would make the holidays for it, but it looks like the pandemic nuked any chance of that happening.

    The most important things to me are:
    1. miniLED display
    2. 8 GB of RAM (would hope they offer a 16 GB option)
    3. Extended display support for external displays with overlapping apps (really a software thing)
    4. Continued software keyboard refinement. Would like to have 3 row keyboard
    5. USB4/TB3 enabled Smart Connector and ports
    The RAM is likely 8 GB or less. We now have NAND cells that are capable of transferring at blazing fast 7,000MB/s making RAM less and less important than ever. RAM was invented because of hard drives being too slow with access and slow transfer speed. If you got a storage that can transfer 7GB per second with fast access time, it gets harder to justify for more RAM that consumes more power and costs more. 
    Yes. RAM could be 8 GB or even the current 6 GB in the 2020 iPad Pros, but I definitely think 8 and 16 GB RAM options, and 32 GB further down the road, will be necessary as iPad Pros begin to run more and more complex applications. Like FCPX, Xcode, Photoshop, AR, VMs, etc, and be able to run those applications in parallel. If extended desktop features and windowed app features are implemented, that only drives up the need for more RAM.

    Apple Silicon is also said to be designed around a unified memory architecture that's going to feed GPUs, ML/neural units, as well as higher core count CPUs. The A14X will notionally have 4 performance A14 CPU cores, at least 8 A14 GPU cores, and whatever else not described so far. Don't think you can get away with 8 GB of RAM and rely on fast NAND and memory compression to support higher end workflows utilizing all this compute hardware.

    Currently, I do think Apple will continue to expand the iPad feature set to include extended desktop support and VM support of some kind. Maybe not in say iPadOS 14.4, whatever version they will be at in March, but it's coming imo. How they differentiate between Macs and iPad Pros, who knows, but I hope they evolve both product lines on their own tracks as fast as possible.
    watto_cobramuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 9 of 18
    thttht Posts: 4,031member
    tmay said:
    tht said:
    tmay said:
    tht said:
    The wait is long.

    I actually thought I would replace this iPad Pro 10.5 after a year, but lo and behold, still typing on it.
    I'd guess by March, it will be available, and I'm certainly interested, but curious if it will be powered by an A14X
    If it is "Pro" monikered, it's going to have an A14X (2x CPU, 2x GPU, 2x memory bandwidth), or a variant of a Macbook silicon. It's basically the same thing. Was hoping they would make the holidays for it, but it looks like the pandemic nuked any chance of that happening.

    The most important things to me are:
    1. miniLED display
    2. 8 GB of RAM (would hope they offer a 16 GB option)
    3. Extended display support for external displays with overlapping apps (really a software thing)
    4. Continued software keyboard refinement. Would like to have 3 row keyboard
    5. USB4/TB3 enabled Smart Connector and ports
    1. seems to be assured
    2, I can see 8 GB or 16 GB but not both, so I expect 8 GB
    3. Will need to be a feature in the near future, but I don't expect it from Apple this spring
    4. I don't have an opinion on that
    5. Seems too early, but would be a massive hit with actual pro's, especially if 16 GB and external display (6K!) and GPU support. What's not to like?
    Yes, it will be interesting to see how they differentiate between iPads and Macs with Macs being able run iPad and iPhone apps directly in a few months. iPad Pros can do everything Macs can do, but Apple is currently just segmenting them to be different, or is targeting iPad to narrower use cases, and therefore haven't implemented certain features to let it happen.

    There's really no technical reason where there is a docking station, like the upper half of a Magic Keyboard, that you can magnetically latch your iPad Pro to, and that fires up an external display, external storage, keyboard, trackpads, accessories, and you can operate your iPad like a desktop computer. And, when it's time to go somewhere, you just grab the iPad Pro and go. Or a variant where you can use an iPad Pro as the input device, both software keyboard and software trackpad, and it can extend its display to an external monitor.

    The 3 row software keyboard is based on my usage. I only use the software keyboard. The current software keyboard with 4 rows of keys and a half height "Touch Bar" takes up too much space. You can turn off the half height touch bar to make it smaller. But if the keyboard is only 3 rows, that gives you another 0.75" of vertical display space for app content. Heck, to give even more vertical display space, I think iPad Pros should have 5:4 aspect ratio displays.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 18
    my first read was “ipad pro mini”. i would love something like that though. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 18
    jcs2305jcs2305 Posts: 1,216member
    ne1 said:
    tmay said:
    tht said:
    The wait is long.

    I actually thought I would replace this iPad Pro 10.5 after a year, but lo and behold, still typing on it.
    I'd guess by March, it will be available, and I'm certainly interested, but curious if it will be powered by an A14X
    Seems like an awfully long time for Apple to sit on the older iPad Pros while the new iPad Air has the A14. It’s feasible due to Covid, but I still think there’s a slight chance of a speed bump before then. 
    iPad Pro was updated March18th 2020 with A12z.. It will be just fine until next year when they release this new model.

    Besides that Apple released the A5 in the iPad 2 in March of 2011 and then released the A5 in the iPhone 5s in October of 2011. So this has happened before..

    watto_cobrachasm
  • Reply 12 of 18
    So, just what is the advantage of mini-LED?
    As far as I've seen it enables screens that are comparable to OLED to be produced in larger sizes at reasonable costs.

    Are there any other advantages?
  • Reply 13 of 18
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    tmay said:
    tht said:
    The wait is long.

    I actually thought I would replace this iPad Pro 10.5 after a year, but lo and behold, still typing on it.
    I'd guess by March, it will be available, and I'm certainly interested, but curious if it will be powered by an A14X
    It will almost certainly require a new A series chips if it ships a with Micro LED.  The dynamic backlighting would have to be managed in some way in conjunction with the GPU.    Just how Apple does this could make for one interesting A14(whatever).   
  • Reply 14 of 18
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member

    netrox said:
    tht said:
    tmay said:
    tht said:
    The wait is long.

    I actually thought I would replace this iPad Pro 10.5 after a year, but lo and behold, still typing on it.
    I'd guess by March, it will be available, and I'm certainly interested, but curious if it will be powered by an A14X
    If it is "Pro" monikered, it's going to have an A14X (2x CPU, 2x GPU, 2x memory bandwidth), or a variant of a Macbook silicon. It's basically the same thing. Was hoping they would make the holidays for it, but it looks like the pandemic nuked any chance of that happening.

    The most important things to me are:
    1. miniLED display
    2. 8 GB of RAM (would hope they offer a 16 GB option)
    3. Extended display support for external displays with overlapping apps (really a software thing)
    4. Continued software keyboard refinement. Would like to have 3 row keyboard
    5. USB4/TB3 enabled Smart Connector and ports
    The RAM is likely 8 GB or less. We now have NAND cells that are capable of transferring at blazing fast 7,000MB/s making RAM less and less important than ever. RAM was invented because of hard drives being too slow with access and slow transfer speed. If you got a storage that can transfer 7GB per second with fast access time, it gets harder to justify for more RAM that consumes more power and costs more. 
    I’m not sure you understand the difference between primary and secondary storage.   In the end it doesn’t matter how fast secondary storage is.  
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 15 of 18
    thttht Posts: 4,031member
    So, just what is the advantage of mini-LED?
    As far as I've seen it enables screens that are comparable to OLED to be produced in larger sizes at reasonable costs.

    Are there any other advantages?
    For consumers, the most obvious is video in a dark room should appear truer to the intended experience. So the grey letterboxing on videos will be more black in dark settings. It'll be more energy efficient than OLEDs at higher nits. It won't have the uneven wear or aging that OLEDs have, so long term, it should age better. People won't notice this much though.

    LCDs still have higher subpixel and pixel density than OLEDs, so a 458 ppi miniLED on a phone will be sharper than the 458 ppi OLED in Apple's models. Not many points of comparison for tablet OLEDs versus LCDs. You should most certainly choose a 264 ppi miniLED over a 264 ppi Pentile OLED, but I would imagine a vendor would go for an RGB OLED over RGBG OLED at that type of density.
    GeorgeBMacmuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 16 of 18
    tht said:
    So, just what is the advantage of mini-LED?
    As far as I've seen it enables screens that are comparable to OLED to be produced in larger sizes at reasonable costs.

    Are there any other advantages?
    For consumers, the most obvious is video in a dark room should appear truer to the intended experience. So the grey letterboxing on videos will be more black in dark settings. It'll be more energy efficient than OLEDs at higher nits. It won't have the uneven wear or aging that OLEDs have, so long term, it should age better. People won't notice this much though.

    LCDs still have higher subpixel and pixel density than OLEDs, so a 458 ppi miniLED on a phone will be sharper than the 458 ppi OLED in Apple's models. Not many points of comparison for tablet OLEDs versus LCDs. You should most certainly choose a 264 ppi miniLED over a 264 ppi Pentile OLED, but I would imagine a vendor would go for an RGB OLED over RGBG OLED at that type of density.

    Thanks
  • Reply 17 of 18
    netroxnetrox Posts: 1,050member
    wizard69 said:

    netrox said:
    tht said:
    tmay said:
    tht said:
    The wait is long.

    I actually thought I would replace this iPad Pro 10.5 after a year, but lo and behold, still typing on it.
    I'd guess by March, it will be available, and I'm certainly interested, but curious if it will be powered by an A14X
    If it is "Pro" monikered, it's going to have an A14X (2x CPU, 2x GPU, 2x memory bandwidth), or a variant of a Macbook silicon. It's basically the same thing. Was hoping they would make the holidays for it, but it looks like the pandemic nuked any chance of that happening.

    The most important things to me are:
    1. miniLED display
    2. 8 GB of RAM (would hope they offer a 16 GB option)
    3. Extended display support for external displays with overlapping apps (really a software thing)
    4. Continued software keyboard refinement. Would like to have 3 row keyboard
    5. USB4/TB3 enabled Smart Connector and ports
    The RAM is likely 8 GB or less. We now have NAND cells that are capable of transferring at blazing fast 7,000MB/s making RAM less and less important than ever. RAM was invented because of hard drives being too slow with access and slow transfer speed. If you got a storage that can transfer 7GB per second with fast access time, it gets harder to justify for more RAM that consumes more power and costs more. 
    I’m not sure you understand the difference between primary and secondary storage.   In the end it doesn’t matter how fast secondary storage is.  
    I have no idea what makes you say that. RAM is NOT a storage. It's Random Access Memory. The fact is that we have NAND-based storage that is coming to near RAM speeds making the needs for RAM to double every few years is less urgent than ever - most data are simply floating around waiting to be used and most applications don't use them immediately nor need RAM for critical performance.  RAM is still an important component but it's not as important as it once was.  
  • Reply 18 of 18
    jcs2305jcs2305 Posts: 1,216member
    netrox said:
    wizard69 said:

    netrox said:
    tht said:
    tmay said:
    tht said:
    The wait is long.

    I actually thought I would replace this iPad Pro 10.5 after a year, but lo and behold, still typing on it.
    I'd guess by March, it will be available, and I'm certainly interested, but curious if it will be powered by an A14X
    If it is "Pro" monikered, it's going to have an A14X (2x CPU, 2x GPU, 2x memory bandwidth), or a variant of a Macbook silicon. It's basically the same thing. Was hoping they would make the holidays for it, but it looks like the pandemic nuked any chance of that happening.

    The most important things to me are:
    1. miniLED display
    2. 8 GB of RAM (would hope they offer a 16 GB option)
    3. Extended display support for external displays with overlapping apps (really a software thing)
    4. Continued software keyboard refinement. Would like to have 3 row keyboard
    5. USB4/TB3 enabled Smart Connector and ports
    The RAM is likely 8 GB or less. We now have NAND cells that are capable of transferring at blazing fast 7,000MB/s making RAM less and less important than ever. RAM was invented because of hard drives being too slow with access and slow transfer speed. If you got a storage that can transfer 7GB per second with fast access time, it gets harder to justify for more RAM that consumes more power and costs more. 
    I’m not sure you understand the difference between primary and secondary storage.   In the end it doesn’t matter how fast secondary storage is.  
    I have no idea what makes you say that. RAM is NOT a storage. It's Random Access Memory. The fact is that we have NAND-based storage that is coming to near RAM speeds making the needs for RAM to double every few years is less urgent than ever - most data are simply floating around waiting to be used and most applications don't use them immediately nor need RAM for critical performance.  RAM is still an important component but it's not as important as it once was.  
    Memory and storage are not the same thing. Memory holds info while the machine is thinking. Storage holds data permanently. 

    “Your computer’s main memory is called RAM. You can think of it as a workspace the computer uses to get work done. When you double-click on an app, or open a document, or, well, do much of anything, RAM gets used to store that data while the computer is working on it. Modern computers often come equipped with 4, 8, 16 or more gigabytes of RAM pre-installed.

    There’s also storage: a hard disk drive or solid state drive where data is recorded and can stay indefinitely, to be recalled as necessary. That might be a tax return, a poem in a word processor, or an email. By comparison, RAM is volatile — the information that’s put in there disappears when the power is turned off or when the computer is reset. Stuff written to disk stays there permanently until it’s erased, or until the storage medium fails.”

    https://www.backblaze.com/blog/whats-diff-ram-vs-storage/


    edited October 2020
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