Forget about mini-LED MacBooks this year

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A MacBook Air without a Touch Bar might be in the offing for later in 2021.
The first mini-LED MacBook models might not launch before 2022.
Concept: Ian Zelbo

Apple may push back its first notebooks with beautiful mini-LED displays. Unconfirmed reports previously predicted 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook models with the new type of screen would arrive before the end of 2021, but a leak Monday indicates they won’t come until the following year.

At this point, it’s not clear if this means Apple won’t introduce new Mac notebooks until 2022, or if just the switch to mini-LED screens is on hold. Many are very much anticipating redesigned MacBooks powered with an Apple M2 chip.

Details about the screen tech remain sketchy at this point. Digitimes said only, “Launch of Apple’s mini LED-backlit MacBook series may be postponed to 2022, according to industry sources.”

The Taiwan-based news site gets its info from people in Apple’s Asian component supply chain, not from Cupertino itself. And that makes it 63.5% accurate, according to AppleTrack — far from being the most reliable.

mini-LED MacBook rumors

A mini-LED MacBook has been expected to be on the 2021 docket for months. This type of screen employs thousands of small LEDs to provide the backlight — far more than the handful used in a standard LCD. That gives the display much better contrast.

The 2021 iPad Pro announced in April is the first Apple computer with a mini-LED screen, but component suppliers are reportedly struggling with production problems. That might explain why Apple is pushing back a MacBook with the new type of display.

Whether this will affect the debut of the M2 processor is unknown. The first M-series computers debuted in 2020, and the second-generation devices are widely expected this autumn. Apple needs this chip, as the M1 can’t compete with the fastest Intel processors.

Plus, there’s reportedly more than a mini-LED in the upcoming MacBook redesign. Unconfirmed reports of a 14-inch model have been around since spring 2020. It’ll supposedly be joined by a new 16-inch version, which will allegedly include a built-in SD card reader and an HDMI port. And a MagSafe charger. But no LED Touch Bar.