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

PickUrPoison

macrumors G3
Sep 12, 2017
8,012
10,397
Sunnyvale, CA
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.
Kuo isn’t a leaker, especially as you’ve defined them. He’s a highly paid supply chain analyst, and his reputation is what his employer sells.

He doesn’t fall for obvious fakes or make crap up, just to be “first”. He doesn’t spin crappy predictions to try to make himself look right. He passes along hard info from supplier insiders to his paying clients.

I can’t imagine we get copied on all of it, particularly custom research.
 
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limo79

macrumors 6502
Jan 9, 2009
273
128
Yeah supply chain analyst who does not work for Apple. In fact he is another leaker that generates rumours based on leaks from chinese supply chain. Without these leaks he will be no name guy. He needs Apple to live and build his pseudo reputation. Show me serious supply chain analyst who need to sell these rumours to whole world (instead to sell it in form of highly paid reports for other companies) to exist and if he is so good as people think why he did not make his analysis based on US or European suppliers? Because China is a weak point in supply chain and everyone knows it so such dudes may drink with some poor worker and buy informations that are normally confidential or highly confidential.
 
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smulji

macrumors 68000
Feb 21, 2011
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It might depend upon TMSC capacity and what they put in the MBA - A14X or AS Mystery Chip and my thoughts leave me none the wiser.
During the WWDC keynote and State of the Union, Apple presenters were very clear in stating that Apple is developing a family of SoC's specific to the Mac and that they won't use processors destined for iPhone or iPad.
 
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Hyperchaotic

macrumors regular
Feb 19, 2005
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During the WWDC keynote and State of the Union, Apple presenters were very clear in stating that Apple is developing a family of SoC's specific to the Mac and that they won't use processors destined for iPhone or iPad.

Well, that leaves some hope then that the 5000-6000 wafers of A14X starting to tape out in Q4 is for the iPad Pro. I wonder if the AS is 5nm or 7nm, again that probably depends on TSMC production capacity.
 
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deconstruct60

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Mar 10, 2009
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During the WWDC keynote and State of the Union, Apple presenters were very clear in stating that Apple is developing a family of SoC's specific to the Mac and that they won't use processors destined for iPhone or iPad.

Apple said the first. They really did not say the stuff after that "and that they won't".

If the first Mac out of the gate is skipping Thunderbolt ports, it would be relatively easy for Apple to use the same die with some narrow subset of features turned off/on to both cover the iPad Pro and the return of the one (or two) port , wonder MacBook.

Apple can easily stamp a different label on the chip package. But if limited to just two USB-C ports and sub 32GB RAM Apple could probably relatively easily cover both with the same die. Just some specific Mac features turned on and slightly different boot firmware. ( The first phase of boot is highly likely the same with iBoot. ).

If the objective is not to "crush" the MBP then they could access a "lightest" , "thinnest " ever mac with a Mac SoC that was the lowest in the power draw curve and limited ports. Also save a chunk of money because basically reusing the same die in multiple product. ( That die reuses is pervasive across the rest of the Apple SoC usage. iPad Air 4 is using same A14 as iPhones. etc. etc. etc. ). The A12X and A12Z are exactly the same die. Just different parts turned on/off. There is a different name stamped on the outside. This tactic will probably get used more often when the Mac SoC packages come out.

Further up the product line up, yes it will be a different die. But Apple never promised there would be zero overlap. In fact, somewhat quite the opposite of bragging about how the 12Z is faster than average Windows laptops sold. Which means a Mac laptop with a successor of the A12Z ( i.e., A14X/Z ) would be faster than most laptops . They could still brag about how it was a "rocketship" fast and super duper , ultra thin. ( Which has been the great white whale Apple has been chasing the last 10 years in their Captain Ahab quest. )


The second coming of the MacBook ( 2015) was a one port wonder like the iPad. Apple spent too much time and effort to bring that model into close alignment with the iPad Pro to probably walk away permanently. The lack of a reasonable fan/cooler in the lastest MBA is another indicator that Apple is 'itching' to do some lowest of low power Mac laptop model also. It would be very "Apple style" for them to launch with a system where they said "see this is why. we couldn't have gone this amazingly thin if we didn't do a utlra custom SoC".
 
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deconstruct60

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Well, that leaves some hope then that the 5000-6000 wafers of A14X starting to tape out in Q4 is for the iPad Pro.

"tape out" ???? Tape out is the latter stages of the design finalization phase. The A14x is extremely likely well past that stage. It has probably already done some low volume production runs (1,000s ) previously and those chips run threw some "torture testing" and others into beta production system units . 5000 wafers is way , way , way past the design validation stage. 5000 wafers is volume production.


I wonder if the AS is 5nm or 7nm, again that probably depends on TSMC production capacity.

The rumors are that it was a derivative of the A14 , so that would put it at 5nm production. Which means the bigger versions need to wait until the initial demand bubble for the iPhones 12 variants and the iPad Air clear through.
The MaC SoC designated production is probably later into Q4 .
 
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deconstruct60

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Mar 10, 2009
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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¢.

That's doubtful. I think folks are missing the factor that the mini-LED screens are likely going to be more expensive. So hitting the spots the iPad Pro is in now and also going mini-LED means something else would have to dramatically 'give' in cost. ( or somewhat Apple was going to settle so substantively lower margins. Likely not).

The mini-LED laptops are pretty likely just going to be substantively more expensive then the current MBP. using mini-LED means that the screens likely would be getting some variant of HDR branding. Maybe even Apple's XDR branding. The XDR is priced quite high. Even if not full "1000 nits sustained' brightness panels , there is very good chance Apple will crank up the brightness and make claims about 'better blacks' than the "plain" Retina screens.
Perhaps Apple won't go for getting formal VESA HDR800 or HDR1000 ratings , but some kind of "Pro something something Display" is going to get slapped on this. Something "insanely great" better than the Retina displays. ( which means $$$ on the price tag. )

Even though Kuo is talking about more suppliers the aggregate volume isn't going to be relatively that high. Double digit millions of these screens probably aren't coming. So higher prices also will reshape demand to match what they can get. Apple isn't going to cry any tears about the boosted profit margins since they take a percentage of the overall system price for themselves.

Hard pressed the iPad Pro could keep the 11" with "Retina" screen and just push the 12.9" with the "Pro HDR Display" . ( along with iMac Pro with Pro HDR display. MBP 14" with HDR display .etc etc. )
 
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deconstruct60

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Mar 10, 2009
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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¢.

The iPad Air 4 is missing two speakers, much better cameras , an 'X' or 'Z' suffix on the SoC ... a handful of TFLOPS of performance. . Likely missing some substantive Augmented reality abilities ( can do some but not fully sensor infused) . Lower max storage. Probably relatively RAM capacity capped.

The iPad Pro 11" with a A14X is probably a quite substantive upgrade without tons of design drama. Apple doesn't "have to" muck with the screen to do something substantive. Slap the Touch ID power button on it and it will have FaceID and TouchID ( yet another gap).

The mini-LED screen would likely push system costs higher, so if trying not to let iPad Pro entry model creep even higher, it doesn't need the screen.
 
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Hyperchaotic

macrumors regular
Feb 19, 2005
112
111
"tape out" ???? Tape out is the latter stages of the design finalization phase. The A14x is extremely likely well past that stage. It has probably already done some low volume production runs (1,000s ) previously and those chips run threw some "torture testing" and others into beta production system units . 5000 wafers is way , way , way past the design validation stage. 5000 wafers is volume production.

Sorry, I'm not too familiar with the nomenclature of this sector in English. I guess "tape out" was the wrong choice of words, thank you for the emphatic correction. What I meant to say was that they'll manufacture 5000-6000 wafers a month, starting somewhere in Q4 and it seemed to me that, as you also suggest, there might not be much production capacity for AS to begin with.
 
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smulji

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Feb 21, 2011
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The iPad Air 4 is missing two speakers, much better cameras , an 'X' or 'Z' suffix on the SoC ... a handful of TFLOPS of performance. . Likely missing some substantive Augmented reality abilities ( can do some but not fully sensor infused) . Lower max storage. Probably relatively RAM capacity capped.

The iPad Pro 11" with a A14X is probably a quite substantive upgrade without tons of design drama. Apple doesn't "have to" muck with the screen to do something substantive. Slap the Touch ID power button on it and it will have FaceID and TouchID ( yet another gap).

The mini-LED screen would likely push system costs higher, so if trying not to let iPad Pro entry model creep even higher, it doesn't need the screen.
 
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deconstruct60

macrumors G3
Mar 10, 2009
9,414
2,019
Sorry, I'm not too familiar with the nomenclature of this sector in English. I guess "tape out" was the wrong choice of words, thank you for the emphatic correction. What I meant to say was that they'll manufacture 5000-6000 wafers a month, starting somewhere in Q4 and it seemed to me that, as you also suggest, there might not be much production capacity for AS to begin with.

if apple assigned 2000 wafer per month in late Q3 to Mac SoC production and there is 500 dies per wafer then is about 1M processed , packaged , and mounted in system by late Q4. That would be enough to do a high priced , limited target market laptop for Apple.

Apple doesn't need much if doing what they did with the original MacBook Air and did with the one port wonder MacBook: slap a somewhat high price premium on the system and hobble the ports as the "ultimate" in lightweight portability. That will push demand down relative to them doing a lower prices $899-999 system and/or something for the more generalize laptop market ( better ports and not so thin made major sacrifices. )

Lots of folks have this presumption that Apple is going to do some kind of "Big Bang" Transition. Multiple Macs that ship at the highest volumes will al be done quickly at the first. IMHO, it is going to be a longer , more protracted transition where Apple does a model at a time with some extended gaps inbetween. That it really will be closer to two years to finish the whole line up.

In 2006 Intel has a complete line up of CPU products (wider selection than Apple would even adopt for use) and a production capacity that far exceeded anything Apple was going to buy. That really isn't true here in 2020. Apple does not have a full line up of CPU products and 5nm is barely onto volume production with a relatively limited number of EUV scanners. ( 5nm is a narrow subset of what TSMC overall production wafer start abilities are.) . There are tons more i's to dot and t's to cross for Apple that Intel did for them in 2006 (and last decade or so).
 
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dgdosen

macrumors 68000
Dec 13, 2003
1,790
484
Seattle
With more vendors producing mini led components - does anyone have any info on when external monitor makers will start selling them at reasonable prices?

And with respect to the technology, can someone clarify - will the operating system need to do anything to help a mini-led screen function (like with 'local dimming')? Or will it 'just work'?
 
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