12.9-inch iPad Pro with mini-LED reportedly enters trial production ahead of release

The next iPad Pro model equipped with a 12.9-inch Retina display featuring new backlight technology based on tiny mini-LED chips has reportedly entered trial production.

Korean website The Elec is reporting today that the device is now in trial production ahead of releasee in the Christmas quarter of this year. However, the site may be wrong about the exact release date because reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo thinks Apple might have delayed the product into early-2021 given the current coronavirus situation and health crisis.

Kuo’s note is echoed by analyst Jeff Pu of GF Securities and serial leaker @L0vetodream.

Compared with OLED panels found on flagship iPhones or LCDs featured on iPads, mini-LEDs promise to bring even deeper blacks, sharper resolutions, crisper colors with local dimming and higher contrast ratio than either of the older screen technologies.

From the report:

Using mini-LED allow device makers to pack more LED chips into the same space and increase screen resolution. A conventional tablet or a notebook PC require around 10,000 miniLED chips. By comparison, Apple’s 6K Pro Display XDR monitor launched last year had 576 LED chips.

According to the publication, LG Display will will supply mini-LED panels to Apple for the new iPad Pro, marking LG’s first mini-LED supply deal with its long-time client. Taiwan’s Epistar has reportedly been commissioned to supply LED chips for the next iPad Pro.

The LCD module should be assembled by Taiwan’s TSMT, which will also oversee the project, and the device is said to be assembled by Foxconn, Apple’s favorite contract manufacturer.

No matter whether it arrives by Christmas or early next year, the fourth-generation iPad appears poised to drop less than a year following the release of the third-generation iPad Pro which brought minor upgrades such as Apple’s improved A12Z Bionic chip and LiDAR.

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Mini-LED technology is expected to make its way into other Apple products over time, including the iMac all-in-one-desktop computer line and standalone monitors.