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Apple’s most important display upgrade in years is coming soon

Published Sep 23rd, 2020 7:31AM EDT
iPad Pro 2020 Rumors
Image: Apple Inc.

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  • Apple is rumored to launch another iPad Pro model by the end of 2020, incorporating a new display technology unseen on any other Apple product.
  • The iPad Pro refresh would sport a mini-LED display, according to a well-known Apple insider.
  • Apple plans on using mini-LED screens in as many as six iPads and MacBook models by the end of 2021.

The iPhone 12 is the most anticipated new gadget of the year, and certainly the most important product in Apple’s lineup, but the Cupertino-based company has other novelties in stores for consumers this year. The iPhone 12 will reportedly drop in mid-October, nearly a month after Apple unveiled the Apple Watch 6, new iPads, and the Apple One subscription. But Apple is also expected to unveil a few other exciting products beyond the iPhone 12 series that will mark the arrival of a few interesting innovations. One of them is the first Apple Silicon-powered MacBook that should arrive in late 2020. The other is an iPad that could deliver Apple’s most important display upgrade in years.

Apple moved to OLED panels for the iPhone when it launched the iPhone X, but the company started researching a different screen technology at the same time. We kept finding out about Apple’s advancements from leaks and rumors that claimed the company’s next major screen upgrade was imminent. 2020 might be the first year when we get to see the innovation in commercial products, and a well-known insider claims it’s the iPad Pro that’s going to be the first new product to feature a mini-LED display.

These mini-LED screens have several advantages over LCD and OLED screens. They feature up to 10,000 tiny LEDs that can support darker blacks and brighter brights than their competitors. The mini-LED panels are also supposed to be thinner than other screen choices, allowing Apple to make slimmer products or increase the battery size of products that use mini-LED screens.

Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who provided accurate predictions about unreleased products in the past, said in a note to customers seen by MacRumors that the initial batch of mini-LED displays will be used for a new iPad Pro this year:

Apple’s mini LED dies will be mass-produced in 4Q20, but due to yield issues related to the production process of display module materials, the 4Q20 display shipments have been revised down by 50% to 300,000-400,000. We believe that the mini LED display in 4Q20 will be used for the new ‌iPad Pro‌.

The note follows a recent report from the same Kuo that said a few days ago that Apple would accelerate adopting mini-LED screens for its iPad and MacBook lines.

Apple has already upgraded its iPad Pro line this year, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see another refresh in late 2020. That’s because the iPad Air features a newer processor than the iPad Pro. Also, the iPhone 12 will be Apple’s first 5G product, and a new iPad Pro could also deliver 5G support. That’s just speculation based on previous rumors and current developments, as Apple is yet to announce anything on the matter.

Kuo said that Apple had planned mini-LED upgrades for six iPad and Mac products by the end of 2021, so the iPad Pro will be the first of many devices that should offer even better display experiences that current LCD technology can offer.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.

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