First iPad with mini-LED display, AirPods 3 expected for early 2021

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iPad Air could get mini-LED in 2021
LCD's days are numbered.
Photo: Apple

Apple will introduce its first iPad with a mini-LED display and refreshed AirPods in the first half of 2021, according to one reliable analyst.

Ming-Chi Kuo of TF International Securities predicts the iPad will be one of six Apple products that will get mini-LED screens next year. Others include iPad Pro, iMac Pro, and MacBook Pro.

All of Apple’s flagship iPhone models now feature more advanced OLED displays that offer greater contrast, increased brightness, and better power efficiency. The same technology is found in Apple Watch.

But in every other Apple product, no matter how expensive, we continue to see more traditional LCD panels. 2021 will be the year that finally changes, according to Kuo’s latest research note.

iPad’s mini-LED rollout set for 2021

Kuo expects a new iPad, scheduled for the first half of 2021, to kick off Apple’s rollout of mini-LED devices. He earlier predicted that up to six Apple devices will feature the same display technology next year.

Those mini-LED screens, made up of individual LEDs, are expected to match iPhone’s OLED panels in performance. They are also expected to eliminate some OLED drawbacks, such as their shorter lifespans.

Kuo adds that Taiwanese manufacturer Career will provide a number of key components for the new iPad. These include flexible “soft boards,” as well as acoustic and optical components.

New AirPods also on the way

Kuo also expects third-generation AirPods to arrive during the first half of next year. The new buds are expected to sport a new design, much like that of AirPods Pro, but without active noise cancellation.

AirPods 3 could also offer better battery life and an improved wireless chip. Career could be involved in the manufacture of this product, too.

Kuo also reported on Friday that next year’s iPhone lineup will feature “soft board” technology that allows for smaller batteries, without necessarily cutting battery life.