iPad closer to OLED display shift as Samsung prepares new panels

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iPad Air 4 launches later this month.
Production set for 2022.
Photo: Apple

iPad’s shift from LCD to OLED displays could be a step closer, with Samsung Display reportedly preparing new panels for Apple and other partners. Production of the new “Gen 8.5” screens is expected to begin in 2022.

After finally ridding the flagship iPhone lineup of LCD screens last year, Apple this year began shifting iPad Pro to mini-LED panels, and the MacBook Pro is expected to follow later this year. A similar switch is also expected for iPad.

But rather than using those pricey mini-LED screens in its cheaper iPad models, Apple is expected to use more traditional OLED panels instead. And according to one report, Samsung is gearing up for Apple’s orders.

Samsung prepares for iPad’s OLED switch

Samsung and its suppliers have begun preparations for new Gen 8.5 OLED screens that will feature in tablets, notebooks, and computer monitors The Elec reports. They are expected to measure in at 10 inches or larger.

Apple is thought to be at least one partner interested in the new panels. One source said the Gen 8.5 OLED screens are destined for future MacBook models that are scheduled to arrive in 2022 or 2023.

Based on what we already know about Apple’s plans from earlier reports, however, it’s likely those displays will be used in iPad instead. It is believed Apple will use mini-LED rather than OLED panels in its MacBook models.

OLED vs. mini-LED

OLED screens, despite being considered far superior to LCD panels in picture quality and energy efficiency, still suffer from burn-in under heavy usage. That makes them unsuitable for devices like iPad Pro and MacBook.

That’s why Apple is using mini-LED technology instead in iPad Pro. It offers many of the same benefits as OLED, like deeper blacks and more vibrant colors, but without the risk of burn-in when being used for extended periods.

However, OLED displays could be suitable for devices that see more casual use, like iPad Air and more affordable iPad models. And recent reports have suggested that the first iPad with an OLED screen could appear in 2022.