Apple Bolsters Supply Chain for Future Mini-LED iPad Pro and MacBook Pro Models

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Apple is rumored to be releasing a mini LED-backlit iPad Pro and a new mini-LED MacBook Pro series over the next 18 months, and the devices have just picked up two new suppliers, according to industry sources.


DigiTimes today reports that two former Apple suppliers, Taiwan's Zhen Ding Technology and Flexium Interconnect, have entered the supply chain to make the flexible printed circuit boards for the mini-LED devices.

The two PCB makers will reportedly compete with their South Korean peer Young Poong Electronics for the higher shipment ratio of flexible boards required, and are well placed to gain a larger portion of shipment orders because they boast better flexible board manufacturing technology capability.
Both firms are expected to start small-volume shipments of mini LED-backlit modules in the fourth quarter of 2020 to support the launch of new iPad Pro in the first quarter of 2021, the sources said. As such modules are likely to become standard specs for diverse new iPads and MacBooks, Zhen Ding and Flexium can secure a new profitable outlet for their flexible boards, the sources noted.
Apple is rumored to be planning to release a high-end 12.9-inch iPad Pro with a mini-LED display and 5G in 2021. Apple was originally planning to launch the device in the fall of 2020, but is reportedly unable to meet that deadline with the global health crisis, and now multiple sources suggest a 2021 launch. DigiTimes claims we could see the device as early as the first quarter of next year, while leaker L0vetodream has claimed they won't arrive until the second quarter.

Apple is also working on a 14.1-inch MacBook Pro and an updated 16-inch MacBook Pro with a mini-LED display, according to Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, although the roadmap for these machines is far from clear.

While Kuo has said the mini-LED version of the 16-inch MacBook Pro is slated for the fall of 2020, he hasn't provided launch information for the 14.1-inch model that Apple is working on, beyond suggesting that there are several mini-LED devices in the works for 2020 and 2021. Meanwhile, L0vetodream has claimed the 14.1-inch MacBook Pro won't be launching until 2021.


DigiTimes has previously claimed that Apple will launch multiple Mac notebook models with mini-LED backlit displays by the end of 2020, and Bloomberg's Mark Gurman said in April that Apple plans to introduce a 16-inch MacBook Pro in October or November, but it's not clear if this refresh features a mini-LED display.

Ultimately, work on all the mini-LED devices may have been pushed back to 2021. This includes the 16-inch mini-LED MacBook Pro, and multiple sources now suggest a 2021 launch for the machine.

The future mini-LED displays will use approximately 10,000 LEDs, with each one below 200 microns in size. Mini-LED will allow for thinner and lighter product designs, offering many of the same benefits as OLED like better wide color gamut, high contrast and dynamic range, and local dimming for truer blacks. Kuo believes the mini-LED technology will "significantly improve productivity and the entertainment experience."

Article Link: Apple Bolsters Supply Chain for Future Mini-LED iPad Pro and MacBook Pro Models
 

Speedman100

macrumors 6502
Jul 21, 2013
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So the 11-inch iPad Pro won’t get the mini-LED display when the 12.9-inch one does? That would be disappointing. I’m not sure I want an iPad that large.
 
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Val-kyrie

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Feb 13, 2005
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I’m guessing that this new display tech will be accompanied by a price increase... I also wonder if they will hold this tech for the MacBook until the ARM machines are ready.
It seems that 2021 is going to be the year for better display technology, for the entire Pro lineup--iPhone Pro, iPad Pro and the 14" MacBook (Pro). I think Apple will use mini-LED to encourage users to transition to ARM-based Macs.
 

ruka.snow

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Jun 6, 2017
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Display tech improvement like this has a much bigger impact on experience than faster processors, at least to me. You can get another 500 MHz on your MacBook Pro and make some tasks faster, but a 60/120Hz mini-LED display is going to improve the whole experience all the time.
 
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jterp7

macrumors 6502a
Oct 26, 2011
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Yeah, my wallet and I would really like to know when that 14" mini-LED ARM MBP is launching..
at the same time im not sure if you want the very first of the procs and new screens (as an owner of the original retina macbook pro). They def made solid improvements each year culminating with the 2015 model. Hopefully its not an ipad 3 situation where the immediate successor fixes a bunch of key issues
 

Mr. Dee

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Dec 4, 2003
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It makes sense now why Apple didn’t update the recent Ice Lake MacBook Pro to a 14.1 inch display. Why give that to a legacy platform when you have major one coming at the end of the year based on your own Silicon?
 

Spock

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It seems that 2021 is going to be the year for better display technology, for the entire Pro lineup--iPhone Pro, iPad Pro and the 14" MacBook (Pro). I think Apple will use mini-LED to encourage users to transition to ARM-based Macs.
That’s my thought as well. My guess is the ARM MacBook, if that’s what the call it, will be a total redesign that includes mini-LED.
- - Post merged: - -

Apple may be able to keep the same or better margins by using their own CPU's
Possibly, but I strongly doubt it.
 

jterp7

macrumors 6502a
Oct 26, 2011
926
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I hope the next 16" MBP comes soon, has mini LED and an Intel CPU :)
yes please...especially if we get those ridiculous deals like last black friday $400 off lol. Im in between getting a 14" that is genuinely mobile vs a 16" powerhouse
 

transpo1

macrumors member
Jul 15, 2010
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So the 11-inch iPad Pro won’t get the mini-LED display when the 12.9-inch one does? That would be disappointing. I’m not sure I want an iPad that large.
I'm sure a new 11" will not be too far behind the 12" iPad Pro.
 

CWallace

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Aug 17, 2007
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So the 11-inch iPad Pro won’t get the mini-LED display when the 12.9-inch one does? That would be disappointing. I’m not sure I want an iPad that large.
As others have suggested, it might be due to pricing or availability. I expect the 12.9" is one of the lower-volume models and it is also the most expensive model so it could give Apple the flexibility to adjust the price and to meet production demand. The Mini is also likely a lower-volume model and I expect the bulk of sales are into commercial channels that are not as price-sensitive so it could be an early adopter of MiniLED, as well.

Once the new suppliers announced today are online and production volume is higher, then we could see it coming to the 11" model and other iPads.


I also wonder if they will hold this tech for the MacBook until the ARM machines are ready.
I believe this is a logical conclusion considering the 13.3" MacBook Pro remained at 13.3" on it's recent refresh and I could see Apple wanting to launch a new design for the first AS MacBook Pro (just as it is strongly rumored the first AS iMac expected at the end of this year will have a new design).


I feel like this rumor pops up every couple of months.
You would not be wrong. ;)

It seems to come back into the consciousness around the same time as Apple announces new suppliers for MiniLED displays or new deals with existing suppliers of said panels.
 

nquinn

macrumors newbie
Jun 25, 2020
21
4
I'm desperately waiting for the next gen 16" to come out, but fear it won't be until next Spring.

Would love to see wi-fi 6, av1 hardware decoding, TB4/USB4, mini-LED, ARM?

The 2019 model is pretty good, but all of the feature sets are a little long in the tooth at this point.
 

jterp7

macrumors 6502a
Oct 26, 2011
926
44
i think they do mini led first but arm at the same time probably unlikely. Still the question is does the 14" get it first or do we get the imac remodel
 
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