Say goodbye to hopes for mini-LED iPad Air [Updated]


12.9-inch iPad Air with mini-LED display won't happen
The upcoming 12.9-inch iPad Air will use a standard screen, not a mini-LED one.
Nope: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

The analyst who predicted last week that the first 12.9-inch iPad Air would include a mini-LED display has now walked it back.

The upcoming super-size version of the tablet will instead apparently use a standard type of screen.

12.9-inch iPad Air with mini-LED? Nope.

mini-LED screens use thousands of tiny LEDs to provide a backlight for the LCD that can illuminate very specific areas. The result is higher contrast, blacker blacks, improved brightness and better power efficiency.

The tech is used in the 2022 version of the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, and Ross Young, CEO of Display Supply Chain Consultants, said April 18 that leftover mini-LED panels from this model would go into the 2024 iPad Air.

But Wednesday he said in a post on X (formerly Twitter), “We no longer believe the upcoming 12.9″ iPad Air will get a MiniLED display.” He cited sources in Apple’s supply chain for the original report and the about-face.

When Young’s prediction was first circulating, there were concerns about what the change would do to the cost of the product. The iPad Air line is supposed to be made up of mid-range models, cheaper than iPad Pro but with more features than the budget iPad. A mini-LED screen would surely add to the price tag, pushing it close to the cost of Apple premium tablets.

But it’s not going to happen.

New mystery mini-LED iPad on the way

Apple supposedly hasn’t given up on the idea of a mini-LED tablet, however. The head of DSCC also said on X, “We have heard that there may be a new 12.9″ MiniLED iPad introduced in Q4’24.”

If true, it’s not clear where this model will fit in Apple’s product lineup. Numerous leaks indicate the 2024 iPad Pro line is going with OLED screens. And mini-LED is too expensive for a budget iPad.

Despite the  flip-flop on iPad Air screens, Young has an excellent track record. That includes correctly predicting that all iPhone 15 models would include the Dynamic Island a solid year before the handset’s launch.

More about the 2024 iPad Air

Whether the backlights will change or not, the big news about the 2024 iPad Air is that there’ll be a 12.9-inch option. The previous largest version came with a 10.9-inch display.

And that’s not the only change. The current iPad Air 5 from 2022 runs an Apple M1 processor that debuted in 2020.  The upcoming version of each tablet reportedly will jump to the same M3 in the latest MacBook Air.

The 2024 iPad Air launch is expected at a recently announced May 7 Apple product-launch event. Pricing for the 12.9- and 10.9-inch versions is currently unknown, though.


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