There’s been no shortage of reports over the past few months confirming that Apple is actively working on mini-LED display technology for its next-generation MacBook and iPad Pro models, but the only real question continues to be when we’ll actually see the technology arrive.
We’ve known for quite a while that Apple has some incredible display technology planned for the next-generation version of its flagship tablet, which many have suggested will also include 5G technology as well, but when Apple last updated its iPad Pro earlier this year, it was a much more modest affair, adding a new LiDAR Scanner that, while very cool, was of somewhat dubious value in practical terms, and only barely bumping up the CPU specs from the 2018 model that came before.
It’s fairly obvious that this year’s iPad Pro has largely been a stop-gap while Apple prepares something much bigger and better, and despite suggestions that it could have had another iPad Pro model up its sleeve for this fall, most reports are now suggesting that we won’t see an update to the high-end model until sometime next year.
In fact, this seems to be the trend with Apple’s Mini-LED efforts across the board. The company has reportedly been working on at least six devices that will include the new technology, including a newly redesigned 14-inch MacBook Pro that’s expected to replace the current 13-inch models in Apple’s lineup.
Despite rumours that Apple was preparing to release these this year, however, pretty much every report now pegs early 2021 as the soonest that we’ll be seeing mini-LED tech arrive on any of Apple’s products.
Whether this was always the plan or it’s a result of Apple taking longer to perfect and produce the technology in the face of a global pandemic is uncertain.
It does still appear as if the iPad Pro will be the first Apple device to gain the new display technology, however; even though Apple will almost certainly be releasing new Apple Silicon MacBook models next week, they’re not expected to feature any significant design changes, and that includes any upgrades to the display technology.
According to a new report from Korea’s ET News, however, it looks like we won’t have to wait too much longer, as it looks like Apple is already ramping up to begin production of new iPad Pro models for a release in the first quarter of next year.
Specifically, LG Display has been tagged to produce the new displays for Apple, with mass-production expected to kick off by the end of 2020, ensuring that the displays are ready to be assembled into new iPad Pro models that could begin shipping as soon as next March.
The timing would be somewhat appropriate since it would be a year after the current iPad Pro model was released. Apple has also traditionally released at least some iPad models during that timeframe.
The jury is still out on whether Apple will offer 5G-capable versions of the new iPad Pro models, but they will almost certainly feature an enhanced version of Apple’s A14 chip — likely an A14X.
This latest report lines up with predictions last month by veteran Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who originally suggested that the 12.9-inch iPad Pro could be released this fall, apart from the smaller version, noting that Apple had been having much more success than originally anticipated with getting the supply chain ramped up to produce the new displays, and had in fact already begun supply chain orders for the 12.9-inch version back in September.
However, even if Apple could get a 12.9-inch iPad Pro ready by the end of this year, it’s unusual for the company to release a new product so close to the holiday season, so it’s more likely it would simply hold off on unveiling the new mini-LED equipped iPad Pro lineup for a more opportune time, by which point it could also have the 11-inch model ready to be released along with it.
Of course, the iPad Pro will just be the beginning of a much larger trend toward the new display technology, and the ET News report adds that LG Display is also expected to produce mini-LED displays for Apple’s entire 2021 MacBook lineup and possibly even new iMacs as well.