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Kuo: Mini-LED iPad and AirPods 3 Coming First Half of 2021

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Apple intends to launch an iPad with a mini-LED display and AirPods 3 with a design signature similar to AirPods Pro in the first half of next year, according to TFI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.


In a research note to investors, seen by MacRumors, Kuo's latest predictions relate to the fortunes of Taiwanese manufacturer Career Technology, which is expected to be a key partner in the supply chain for Apple's products in 2021, thanks to its flexible soft board technology.

LCP (liquid crystal polymer) soft boards are said to offer a flexible way to connect components together while facilitating high-speed, low-latency data transfer. Career is expected to regain orders for acoustic and optical components in soft boards destined for a mini-LED iPad, which will be mass produced in the first half of 2021, according to the note.

Kuo said roughly eight months ago that Apple has six mini-LED products in its pipeline planned to launch though the end of 2021. 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.

However, Kuo has long predicted that a 12.9-inch ‌iPad Pro‌ with a fourth quarter 2021 launch timeframe would likely be Apple's first mini-LED product, so this latest development appears to suggest that the analyst's expectations have changed.

As we've outlined in our guide on mini-LED technology, the displays use on the order of 1,000 to 10,000 individual LEDs that offer a number of improvements over traditional LED-backlit displays, coming close to performance of OLED displays without some of the drawbacks of that technology.

With regards to AirPods, the note reiterates Kuo's belief that Apple is working on third-generation AirPods that will go into mass production during the first half of 2021.

The new ‌AirPods‌ will adopt the System-in-Package used for the AirPods Pro, replacing the rigid-flex PCB+SMT design of the second-generation ‌AirPods‌, and allowing for a form factor similar to the AirPods Pro, featuring a shorter stem and replaceable ear tips.

The AirPods 3 are expected to be more affordable and will lack higher-end features like Active Noise Cancellation. Battery life could be improved, though, and Apple is working on a new wireless chip.

Kuo says Career will obtain component orders for the AirPods 3, which is expected to significantly contribute to the supplier's revenue and profit from the second quarter of 2020.

Kuo's note also mentions that Apple intends to expand its use of soft board technology in next year's "iPhone 13," which is expected to save space and reduce manufacturing costs, with Career again projected to benefit from the wider adoption.


Article Link: Kuo: Mini-LED iPad and AirPods 3 Coming First Half of 2021
 
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eulslix

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Dec 4, 2016
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Again, I don’t see how they would be able to even fit 1000 LEDs into an iPad format. Those things get hot as hell, and right now it’s even challenging to fit that amount into a 32” screen. We’re not even talking about the 10000 at the upper range at this point, this amount of madness hasn’t been achieved even in large monitors yet, which are actively cooled with a lot of volume for heat dissipation. An iPad on the other hand is supposed to be a super thin, lightweight and low power consumption device, so any kind of technology that would achieve those numbers would be a miracle, where even Apples most recent ARM advancements would look like a moderate advancement in comparison. And let’s not forget this is third party territory, so it’s not as if apple has some kind of unique competitive advantage in this case.
Also, their own best offering so far is a 500 zone display which costs over 5000$.
And finally, there is not a single rumor about any consumer panels that would even come close to those numbers.

Bottom line, I don’t see how any of this lines up. I call ******** on that, unless we’re about to see a huge disruption in display technology within the next few months. I imagine they will put something in the dimensions of 50-100 LED zones in there and that’s going to be it.
 
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James Godfrey

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Oct 13, 2011
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In all honesty I don’t think Apple are going to release any new iPad Pro’s until mid-late 2021 now, I think the Pros will skip the A14X altogether and go straight for A15X just after the next iPhones, I think this will be an iPad Mini refresh.

My predictions of hardware for 2021 are:

March - iPad Mini, Apple TV, AirTags, AirPods, AirPods Studio.

June - Mac

September - iPhone 12S, More MagSafe Stuff, Maybe Apple AR Glasses

October - iPad Pro, Apple Pencil 3, Magic Keyboard 2

November - More Apple silicon Macs
 
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Serban55

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Oct 18, 2020
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Yeah, we have OLED in 88 inch TVs. Why can't we have it in a 12.9 inch iPad?
those tv...after 4-5 years their blue pixels are fade away
On ipad its true that the display doesnt stay On as much...for most...but who knows
 
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Serban55

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Oct 18, 2020
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In all honesty I don’t think Apple are going to release any new iPad Pro’s until mid-late 2021 now, I think the Pros will skip the A14X altogether and go straight for A15X just after the next iPhones, I think this will be an iPad Mini refresh.

My predictions of hardware for 2021 are:

March - iPad Mini, Apple TV, AirTags, AirPods, AirPods Studio.

June - Mac

September - iPhone 12S, More MagSafe Stuff, Maybe Apple AR Glasses

October - iPad Pro, Apple Pencil 3, Magic Keyboard 2

November - More Apple silicon Macs
impossible...we will have ipad pros probably at March digital event...otherwise...A15X will be for 2022, since the first A15 will be after Sept-oct
 
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wave84

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Sep 11, 2014
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I really can't understand why Apple doesn't simply use OLED technology for iPads. I mean, there are tablets out there (Lenovo P11 Pro) that use OLED and only cost 500 bucks. And OLED is superior to miniLED in every single way, with basically no drawback (pixel aging doesn't apply to tablets, it shouldn't stay on that much). So.. why?
 
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James Godfrey

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Oct 13, 2011
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impossible...we will have ipad pros probably at March digital event...otherwise...A15X will be for 2022, since the first A15 will be after Sept-oct
You have to remember there are several reasons for Apple not to release the next iPad Pro in March at the moment:

1. The pandemic likely to cause further development delays through the winter.

2. The current gen is still selling like crazy and Apple are still struggling to keep up with demand currently 2-3 weeks minimum for delivery here in the UK).

3. They are prioritising the iPhone and using iPad parts for it currently which will slow down iPad even further.

4. October 2021 release for iPad Pro is in line with the 18 months refresh cycle that is quite normal for the iPad line up.

5. MiniLED likely to be quite expensive in early 2021, as it’s been reported the cost will drop significantly towards the end of 2021.
 
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gnipgnop

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Feb 18, 2009
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Yeah, we have OLED in 88 inch TVs. Why can't we have it in a 12.9 inch iPad?
Burn-in. OLED works best for content that is not in a fixed position for long periods of time. TVs these days have computer style interfaces with a lot of fixed position elements, but there's no expectation that the user will be using the interface for hours at a time. That's different for laptop/desktop use and tablet use. You would expect users to have static elements on the screen in the form of menu systems and tool systems around the clock. That doesn't really fit well with the burn-in limitations of OLED technology.
 
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gnomeisland

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Jul 30, 2008
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Burn-in. OLED works best for content that is not in a fixed position for long periods of time. TVs these days have computer style interfaces with a lot of fixed position elements, but there's no expectation that the user will be using the interface for hours at a time. That's different for laptop/desktop use and tablet use. You would expect users to have static elements on the screen in the form of menu systems and tool systems around the clock. That doesn't really fit well with the burn-in limitations of OLED technology.
Which is exactly why Apple doesn't use it on their best selling product. Oh wait, they do. I don't expect it will happen but I would prefer OLED for my iPad. Maybe not for a Macbook or desktop monitor where power and heat are slightly less of an issue and screen elements on a Mac are definitely more static than iOS/iPadOS.
 
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cupcakes2000

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Apr 13, 2010
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I really can't understand why Apple doesn't simply use OLED technology for iPads. I mean, there are tablets out there (Lenovo P11 Pro) that use OLED and only cost 500 bucks. And OLED is superior to miniLED in every single way, with basically no drawback (pixel aging doesn't apply to tablets, it shouldn't stay on that much). So.. why?
Because burn in is a terrible thing for a computer screen.
 
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gnipgnop

macrumors 68000
Feb 18, 2009
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Which is exactly why Apple doesn't use it on their best selling product. Oh wait, they do.
Phones aren't used the same way that desktops/laptops and tablets are. There's no expectation that the user will be interacting with static elements on the screen for hours at a time. Typically the longest on-screen activity you might do with a phone is watch a video or play a game. Both of those match the use case for TVs.
 
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gnomeisland

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Jul 30, 2008
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In all honesty I don’t think Apple are going to release any new iPad Pro’s until mid-late 2021 now, I think the Pros will skip the A14X altogether and go straight for A15X just after the next iPhones, I think this will be an iPad Mini refresh.
That's not impossible, but Apple seems to like to enhance their even numbered chips (A8, A10, A12, etc.). The exceptions were the A5 & A9.

The variable I think you're forgetting is 5G. Will Apple wait until it has an in-house 5G modem? They were rumored to be shooting for next year to do so. If they are on track to meet that goal, I could see them waiting until that is done to use the iPP as a "soft launch" of their in-house modem before adding it to the cash-cow iPhone. Otherwise, I think as soon as they have the surplus parts they'll want to launch iPP with the Qualcomm X55 to better differentiate it from the iPA.

Also, the A14X is basically already designed/manufactured as the M1. I wouldn't be surprised if they are the same chip with the A14X being the lower-binned, under-clocked samples.
 
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