Coronavirus pandemic allegedly delays Apple’s first 5G iPad with mini-LED into 2021

Apple has reportedly pushed back planned introduction of its first iPad Pro model with 5G cellular networking and new mini-LED backlight technology to early next year due to the ongoing coronavirus epidemic, according to a new report.

Taiwanese publication Economic Daily News reported Tuesday that the first 5G iPad model has likely been delayed into 2021. The device was originally supposed to release in the fall. The report corroborates recent claims made by analyst Jeff Pu of GF Securities that these refreshed iPad Pros may not launch until early 2021.

The iPad Pro was last refreshed in March 2020 with enhancements such as a LiDAR scanner, improved cameras, a faster A12Z Bionic chip and other perks. A second update in 2020 was supposed to add 5G networking via Qualcomm chips, a mini-LED backlight module and Apple’s upcoming A14 Bionic chip manufactured with TSMC’s five-nanometer process technology.

The report doesn’t mention possible delays for Apple’s first 5G iPhone models.

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Earlier rumor-mill reporting has suggested that Apple is late with 5G iPhone testing, opening door to the possibility that the handset might arrive after September.

Apple is also said to be working on a mini-LED refresh to the iPad Air that is believed to be arriving later this year. Apple is expected to transition all its products to mini-LED technology.

Mini-LED is a display backlight technology that brings improved contrast ratios and deeper blacks versus LCD panels that are lit with regular LEDs. It achieves this by providing way more local dimming zones rather than use a single backlit panel that illuminates the entire screen.