Apple has tapped Taiwan-based manufacturer Innolux to build out mini-LED panels for an upcoming iPad Pro model, which could be released in the second half of the year.
That’s according to a new supply chain report by Taiwanese publication Economic Daily News. Per that report, Innolux has already sent sample mini-LED panels to Apple and has won a supply order to produce them in bulk for an upcoming tablet lineup.
More than just a supply chain story, the report does seem to corroborate a few interesting details about this year’s supposed iPad Pro refresh.
For one, it could help nail down a timeline for this year’s iPad Pro launch, which has been tricky to place thus far.
But, What Are Mini-LEDs?
Mini-LEDs are part of a new display technology that results in brighter and more vibrant displays with greater color control and screen variety. Eventually, they may also end up being cheaper overall than standard OLED panels.
And even though an iPad Pro with a mini-LED display isn’t coming until the fall, that doesn’t mean that Apple won’t release any Pro model tablets next month. One possibility is a lower-end 11-inch iPad Pro launch next month, with a significantly updated 12.9-inch device with 5G compatibility debuting later in the year.
When Will the Next iPad Pro Be Released?
The rumor mill is currently split between an iPad Pro launch in March and a debut later this year at a fall event. (The current iPad Pro generation was released in October 2018, but Apple has been updating the product lineup about every 18 months.)
While there are certainly signs that Apple could unveil a new iPad Pro generation at a keynote event next month, this Taiwan supply chain rumor suggests that a model with a mini-LED display won’t launch until later this year.
That could cast doubt on an iPad Pro launch in March, especially since past rumors also suggest that an iPad Pro with 5G support — widely expected to debut this year — won’t come until fall 2020 at the earliest.
Past forecasts from well-connected TF Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo also indicate that an iPad Pro with mini-LED displays won’t arrive until the third quarter of the year.