Chinese LED chipmaker San’an Optoelectronics is reportedly making “better-than-expected” progress developing Mini LED technology it hopes will be used in Apple’s future Mini LED iPad and MacBook devices, a Tuesday report by Digitimes claims.
If all goes according to plan, San’an Optoelectronics will join Taiwanese LED chipmaker Epistar in producing the screen tech for Apple. It is expected to enter trial production by the end of this year and receive orders from Apple in 2022. Apple’s first Mini LED devices likely will debut in 2021.
The report notes:
“Apple reportedly will adopt mini LED backlighting for iPad Pro initially with Epistar to be the sole supplier, according to industry sources.
As Apple is likely to seek a second or more suppliers of mini LED chips to reduce supply risks, Sanan is a likely choice in 2021, [analyst Ming Chi] Kuo noted.
But the industry sources said even if Sanan can start mini LED production in 2021, yield rates will be crucial to whether it can obtain orders from Apple.”
Advantage of Mini LED
Mini LED offers a few advantages over OLED displays. For one thing, it makes it possible to create thinner, more lightweight devices. It also can do this while retaining the color accuracy, high contrast and dynamic range, and efficiency of OLED. It is likely that Apple will use Mini LED for future iPads, iMacs and MacBooks.
This report is interesting because it provides an update on Apple’s Mini LED plans. However, it could also be another piece of data regarding Apple’s efforts to split its supply chain. Recent reports suggested that Apple is establishing one supply chain that will cater to China, and another that will cater to the rest of the world. This is intended to help insulate Apple from the U.S. vs. China trade war, which could flare up again in the future. Choosing one Mini LED maker inside China and another in Taiwan is not necessarily related to this shift. But it makes sense that it could be.