Late 2020 iPad Pro could be the first with a next-gen Mini LED display

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2018 iPad Pro sizes: 2018 iPad Pro sizes
Apple has big plans for iPad Pro in 2020.
Photo: Apple

An upcoming iPad Pro refresh could be the first to introduce a next-generation Mini LED display, a new report reveals.

Innolux is said to be joining Apple’s supply chain this year specifically to supply new iPad Pro panels. Jingdian, another Mini LED supplier, is expected to be the primary supplier and may have already started shipping orders.

Apple has been slowly but surely transitioning away from LCD displays for its mobile devices in recent years. The technology has served us well, but LED options are now considered to be superior in a number of ways.

Rather than using traditional OLED panels in the new iPad Pro, however, Apple is thought to be eyeing Mini LED technology. The first could come with this year’s iPad Pro refresh, according to the latest rumor.

Mini LED on the way to iPad Pro

Taiwan’s Economic Daily News reports that Innolux has “made a breakthrough” with its own Mini LED panels. It has already shipped sample units to Apple and it “prepared” to start manufacturing for the next iPad Pro.

Innolux denies it has ever won orders from Apple — this would be the first time — but the company has invested heavily in research and development to ensure it can become part of Apple’s supply chain, the report adds.

Innolux is also said to be an important display supplier for Foxconn, Apple’s largest manufacturing partner. It is claimed this provides Apple with a “one-stop supply advantage” that will benefit its supply chain management.

Reliable TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has also predicted that Apple will bring Mini LED displays to iPad Pro in late 2020 or early 2021.

The advantages of Mini LED

Mini LED displays aren’t drastically different to OLED displays. Both use individual LEDs to light each pixel, rather than an LED backlight for a liquid crystal layer. It’s also similar in terms of quality and contrast ratios.

The advantages to Mini LED screens are that they are more affordable to manufacture, and even more power efficient. So a Mini LED display should burn less battery life than an LCD or OLED screen.

Economic Daily News claims the Mini LED iPad Pro will launch in late 2020, which suggests there could be two refreshes to the lineup this year (following the one we’re all anticipating this spring).

That’s the second time we’ve heard this might happen. A previous report suggested the second refresh, scheduled for the fall, could also bring ultra-fast 5G connectivity to iPad Pro for the first time.