New screen tech might make upcoming MacBook and iPad most beautiful yet

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macbook pro
Apple reportedly picked Mini LED instead of OLED for future Mac Book Pro and iPad Pro models.
Photo: Apple

Apple’s long interest in Mini LED technology could come to fruition as early as next year, with a reliable Apple prognosticator saying both a MacBook Pro and a iPad Pro with this new type of screen are in development.

The report comes from a research note penned by Ming-Chi Kuo, according to MacRumors. This analyst with TF International Securities doesn’t have a perfect record for predictions, but does quite well.

He’s talked about Apple using Mini LED before, but today’s report means his sources in Apple’s supply chain still think these two devices are on the way.

How Mini LED displays work

A traditional flat-panel screen shows images on an LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) with LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes) providing a backlight. As LCDs don’t glow, brightness is determined by the LEDs.

Current LCD screens have a few large LEDs, limiting their ability to make one section of the screen very bright and another very dark. That’s where Mini LED comes in.

This type of display has thousands of small LEDs providing the backlight. Apple’s Mini LED screens will supposedly have LEDs less than 200 microns in size. This will enable very fine control of the light and dark areas displayed.

Apple apparently choose this tech for its tablets and laptops over OLED because Mini LED screens will cost less once all the production bugs are worked out.

But this is new tech — the first TVs with Mini LED debuted this fall. And Ming-Chi Kuo says Apple won‘t get its MacBook Pro with on out until the first half of 2021. The iPad Pro with the improved screen will supposedly be out sooner: either next fall, or early 2021.