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Kuo: Apple to Accelerate Adoption of Mini-LED Displays in iPad and Mac Notebook Lineups

matram

macrumors 6502a
Sep 18, 2011
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Sweden
Sadly, I’m not familiar with screen technology at all, so I find all of this very confusing. Can someone please clue me in?

micro-LED won’t hit iPads/macs until 2030, so to me it’s not relevant - I don’t get excited about tech that’s 10 years out, sorry. OLED is great except it burns in and doesn’t last very long. Mini-LED is trash, but might make it into Apple products over the next couple of year... although I don’t get why I should be excited, since apparently it’s trash supposedly. Did I get it right?

But honestly? I find today’s iPad Pro and Mac screens quite adequate for my needs, so I wonder if I need to concern myself overmuch with all this screen hullabaloo. Maybe that makes me a square who is not with it?

Can someone please shed some light on this for dummies like me? Thanks!

OLED and microLED are emissive technologies, the LED directly emits the light.

Classical LED and minLED are transmissive technologies, the LED acts as a color filter in from of a backlight. The microLED is the backlight which can then be selectively varied, i.e. less backlights on dark parts of the display.

I terms of dynamic range and brightness emissive technologies are inherently better. microLED tries to achieve some of the same benefits with a transmissive approach.
 
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cppguy

macrumors 6502a
Apr 6, 2009
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Mini LED is just a temporary bridge, until micro LED becomes feasible in large volumes. OLED is already much superior to mini LED, except OLED is very expensive, is difficult to manufacture in the numbers required by Apple, and has burn-in issues, especially when the same menu, task bar or dock is permanently at the same position. Micro LED will be the ideal solution, but it's many years into the future. Mini LED is just filling the gap for the next few years as a reasonable compromise that can be mass-produced within a year or so.
 
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cppguy

macrumors 6502a
Apr 6, 2009
585
875
SF Bay Area, California
In traditional TFT displays, there's one uniform light source, called the backlight, and color filters that can be turned on and off programmatically. It's similar to a classical slide film, where you have a big bulb and the color film changes the transmission of the light. This is an inferior solution, because the backlight is not perfectly even, and cannot be varied in individual areas. Since there's always a light source, blacks aren't perfectly black.

The first TFT displays (from around 1992 to 2005) used CFL tubes as backlight. Then we switched to LEDs, which made the display more energy efficient, much lighter and less hot. However, an LED backlight is still not perfectly uniform.

In mini LED, we still have the same TFT / liquid film layer, only the backlight consists of numerous LEDs, which can be toned individually. This can increase the dynamic contrast, and allows HDR to shine. Bright spots can be really bright, dark areas can be really dark. But it's still not on a per-pixel level. Blooming can happen when there's a sharp change in brightness from pixel to pixel. For example, imagine a very bright circle and everything else being black. There will be a slight halo. If you want white text on a black background, blacks are still not 100% black.

The most ideal solution is when there's no film, but each pixel is an individual light source (3 actually, red, green and blue). This is how OLED and micro LED work.
 
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Dreamail

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Jun 17, 2003
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I have a theory about the future of iPad Pros, so hear me out. I’d like to know if this makes sense to everyone.

I like your thinking.

There is definitely something "fishy" about the fact, if it comes to pass, that the regular 10.2" iPad should get a mini-LED display and the 11" iPad Pro does not.

In the current lineup there is also something fishy with the 11" iPad Pro coming with an A12 chip, not even an A13, while the iPad Air comes with an A14 chip. That little Z at the end of the A12Z chip does not make it a whole lot better than the regular A12 chip. Certainly the A14 in the iPad Air should run circles around it in some applications, comparatively.

The only really limiting factor in the new iPad AIr is the 256GB max storage. Pro apps really want more than that for video editing or DJing.

That leaves the current 11" iPad Pro in a bit of a pickle. Not all that much better on the whole than the new iPad Air.
Which could make it redundant in a sense. Certainly if they up the memory options for the Air.

Your line up comparison should include the iPad mini, I feel, since there is no "MacBook mini".
That would be the 12" MacBook, if it returns.

- Macbook 12” = iPad mini
- Macbook Air 13” = iPad (8th Gen)
- Macbook Pro 13”/14.1” = iPad Air (4th Gen)
- Macbook Pro 16” = iPad Pro 12.9”

That would leave no room for a 15" tablet...
And little room for the 11" iPad Pro too.

However if the next iPad Pro update would give both the 11" and 12.9" Pro a mini-LED display, that would make the Pro differentiation, especially towards the iPad Air much more meaningful again.
So perhaps Kuo is wrong here and the mini-LED goes to both Pro models only?
 
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washburn

macrumors 6502
Apr 8, 2010
464
7
I think miniLED will be the premier screen technology for the best screens in the coming decade.

Micro LED I've been following intently for years. I doubt it will be here before 2030.

Hopefully miniLED comes to iPhone within a year or two and the garbage that is OLED can finally be tossed out on the curb.

OLED is still superior than miniLED by far, its just burn is still susceptible

by the way OLED could still be worked on and improved, who knows it could even get as good as MicroLED eventually
 
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0lf

macrumors regular
May 2, 2016
211
122
I have a theory about the future of iPad Pros, so hear me out. I’d like to know if this makes sense to everyone.

Now that Apple has introduced the iPad Air (4th gen) I suspect that the 11” Pro will either change again (since the smaller Pros always change) OR it will be discontinued. If Kuo is right, and mini-LED doesn’t come to 11“ Pro, I believe 11” Pro will be discontinued.
So, by your logic, since Kuo announce mini led for 10.2” iPad but not for 10.9”, if Kuo is right, iPad air will be discontinued soon...
 
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Coconut Bean

macrumors 6502
Jul 21, 2011
349
366
As much as I like MiniLED and MicroLED.

1. I can absolutely bet MicroLED will be here before 2030, but likely somewhere in 2025+. Being here doesn't mean Apple will use it on iPhone though.

2. Mini LED just cant compare to MicroLED and OLED for Smartphone, first being thickness, second being energy consumption. And third is its cost. Mini LED LCD fits MacBook Pro and iPad Pro because there are no burn in effect. Something OLED will always have to content with.

3. OLED has a very decent technology roadmap in the next 5 years. Integrated touch panel, ( both being thinner and cost effective ), Higher Refresh Rate, Lower Energy Consumption ( Again ), Longevity, and cheaper. I am increasingly sceptical how is any Display Technology going to compete on Smartphone? Will we have to settle for OLED in the future because it became good enough for 95% while being fairly cheap.

The whole problem is OLED has a roadmap that it will drive down cost faster for small / smartphone panels at below LCD cost..... ( This is rather sad state of reality for those of us who really prefer LCD screen ). Which is partly why Japan Display is in trouble.

Hopefully MicroLED will find its way to Mac and larger display first, and someday bring itself to Smartphone.

I believe you are right. MicroLED would need to compete vs a mature oled technology and it will be expensive af. OLEDs biggest drawback is and has always been lifetime, but with a generation cycle of 2-4 years it really doesn't matter (won't matter when actual competition hits) anymore.

I expect MicroLED to never make it into phones in a bigger scale, but only used for screens in tablets/tvs etc. There it will be competitive pricewise and longevity actually matters with many buying a tv every ten years...
 
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one more

macrumors 68000
Aug 6, 2015
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The products include a 12.9-inch ‌iPad Pro‌, a 27-inch iMac Pro, a 14.1-inch MacBook Pro, a 16-inch ‌‌MacBook Pro‌‌, a 10.2.-inch ‌iPad‌, and a 7.9-inch ‌‌iPad‌‌ mini.

Surprised not to see iPad Air and iPad Pro 11” in this list. I can see how Apple may want to use mini-LED to increase the cheapest iPads value, but still...
 
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Moonjumper

macrumors 68020
Jun 20, 2009
2,355
2,064
Lincoln, UK
To add another future option, Innolux have shown a rollable emissive mini-LED prototype. If not having to go to the micro level to create emissive LED screens, it might happen sooner. Specs are not known on this prototype, but it is interesting to see mini-LED used at the pixel level rather than as a backlight.

Innolux prototype news
 
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Metrosey

macrumors 6502
Oct 18, 2019
367
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I thought MiniLED was coming Q4 2020? I assume it’s been delayed then? So I doubt the 16 inch MacBook Pro this year will have MiniLED?
 
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Arctic Moose

macrumors 6502
Jun 22, 2017
311
311
Gothenburg, Sweden
Now that Apple has introduced the iPad Air (4th gen) I suspect that the 11” Pro will either change again (since the smaller Pros always change) OR it will be discontinued. If Kuo is right, and mini-LED doesn’t come to 11“ Pro, I believe 11” Pro will be discontinued.

For 2020/2021 we can be pretty sure the 11" will change.

I cannot imagine Apple would force everyone who wants a A14X, >256GB, ultra-wide camera, LiDAR, portrait mode, decent speakers and/or ProMotion to use a laptop-sized iPad, which means the iPad Air isn't a sufficient replacement.
 
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Aston441

macrumors 68000
Sep 16, 2014
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As much as I like MiniLED and MicroLED.

1. I can absolutely bet MicroLED will be here before 2030, but likely somewhere in 2025+. Being here doesn't mean Apple will use it on iPhone though.

2. Mini LED just cant compare to MicroLED and OLED for Smartphone, first being thickness, second being energy consumption. And third is its cost. Mini LED LCD fits MacBook Pro and iPad Pro because there are no burn in effect. Something OLED will always have to content with.

3. OLED has a very decent technology roadmap in the next 5 years. Integrated touch panel, ( both being thinner and cost effective ), Higher Refresh Rate, Lower Energy Consumption ( Again ), Longevity, and cheaper. I am increasingly sceptical how is any Display Technology going to compete on Smartphone? Will we have to settle for OLED in the future because it became good enough for 95% while being fairly cheap.

The whole problem is OLED has a roadmap that it will drive down cost faster for small / smartphone panels at below LCD cost..... ( This is rather sad state of reality for those of us who really prefer LCD screen ). Which is partly why Japan Display is in trouble.

Hopefully MicroLED will find its way to Mac and larger display first, and someday bring itself to Smartphone.

I believe your point #1 is spot on, which is why I'm setting 2030 as the iPhone adoption year. Unless TC gets the boot or quits or has an epiphany, it will take excruciatingly long before iPhone gets microLED.
 
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Aston441

macrumors 68000
Sep 16, 2014
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I don’t about mini led on MacBooks or what they’d look like but when I compare oled tv panels to mini led I know which I prefer. The former.

I prefer things with longevity. My 2011 MBA is still going strong. I have a new MacBook, but the MBA is integrated into my studio setup and would look horrible now if it were OLED. instead it looks like it did the day it came out of the box.

Similarly, I just gave my iPhone 5s to someone who dropped their iPhone into a stream and couldn't afford a new or even used iPhone. Again, it looked just as good as the day it was new. OLED has real issues and is throwaway tech. I don't do throwaway tech.
 
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EugW

macrumors G3
Jun 18, 2017
9,161
6,551
I prefer things with longevity. My 2011 MBA is still going strong. I have a new MacBook, but the MBA is integrated into my studio setup and would look horrible now if it were OLED. instead it looks like it did the day it came out of the box.

Similarly, I just gave my iPhone 5s to someone who dropped their iPhone into a stream and couldn't afford a new or even used iPhone. Again, it looked just as good as the day it was new. OLED has real issues and is throwaway tech. I don't do throwaway tech.
LCD can yellow over time. Our iPhone 5 has yellowed at the edges.
 
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wood1208

macrumors regular
Aug 30, 2015
194
135
Expect MicroLED around 2025. A while back Apple bought a MicroLED company and started investing in MicroLED so it is not 10 years from now but about 5 years. For MiniLED, where Apple Silicon based 14" Macbook Air fits and is it 2021 or 2022 release ?
 
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Zdigital2015

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Jul 14, 2015
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East Coast, United States
Why still no love for the 11” Pro?

Also: “Apple has six mini-LED products in its pipeline planned to launch though the end of 2021.

I really think the 11” iPad Pro is dead come the next round of updates. I think they’ll back down to a 12” iPad Pro and add a 14” iPad Pro to the mix while raising prices slightly, to $899 and $1099 for the bases models (128GB). I have no special insider knowledge, and I certainly could be wrong, but it seems like a very Apple thing to do, especially after the iPad Air 4 intro last week. Just my 2¢.
 
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EugW

macrumors G3
Jun 18, 2017
9,161
6,551
I really think the 11” iPad Pro is dead come the next round of updates. I think they’ll back down to a 12” iPad Pro and add a 14” iPad Pro to the mix while raising prices slightly, to $899 and $1099 for the bases models (128GB). I have no special insider knowledge, and I certainly could be wrong, but it seems like a very Apple thing to do, especially after the iPad Air 4 intro last week. Just my 2¢.
I have mentioned that too before, and I would definitely be down for a 12" iPad Pro.

However, Kuo Ming-Chi's rumours consistently say 12.9" iPad Pro. Not 11", not 12", and not 14".
 
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limo79

macrumors 6502
Jan 9, 2009
273
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Could be. Tell me more.
It is obvious that in 2021 Macs will be redesigned (thin bezels) and during this occasion Apple is going to change a display to do not be behind competitors and still be on the top. People love to hear obvious things from leakers that in fact want to be FAMOUS to live from such leaks.
 
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