Become a MacRumors Supporter for $25/year with no ads, private forums, and more!

iPad Pro Visualizing mini LED grid on 12.9" iPad Pro

GubbyMan

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Apr 3, 2011
327
1,096
So I've been thinking about the mini LED iPad for a while now. I've been waiting for years for iPad to update to a better screen technology because I care about good black levels and high contrast ratio. For the last few years we've seen Apple start using OLED on iPhones and we've heard rumors about Apple taking interest in mini (and micro) LED. Apple has also introduced new dark modes for iOS/iPadOS/macOS that unsurprisingly look much better on OLED screens.

Now the main benefit of OLED has been that every sub-pixel has its own light emitting diode which means black pixels are completely turned off. OLED has its disadvantages in blue sub-pixel degradation, burn-in, high energy usage when showing full white screen, black smearing, blue light shift, etc. That is why micro LED looks so promising as it would have an LED for every sub-pixel to allow for true blacks while avoiding some of the problems with OLED.

While micro LED is still in development, we're at a point where we expect Apple to release products with a mini LED display which is a̶ ̶w̶a̶t̶e̶r̶e̶d̶ ̶d̶o̶w̶n̶ ̶v̶e̶r̶s̶i̶o̶n̶ ̶o̶f̶ ̶m̶i̶c̶r̶o̶ ̶L̶E̶D̶ similar to normal LCD displays but with the backlight consisting of thousands of small LEDs. In mini LED, An LED would span over multiple pixels on the screen. It's not as ideal as OLED or micro LED but this is a limitation we have to live with for at least a few years. 😒

Apple has also recently released the Pro Display XDR which has a FALD backlight system consisting of 576 LEDs for better local dimming. The Pro Display XDR and other displays like high end TVs with FALD show us that dimming zones that span multiple pixels can cause blooming when the contrast between neighbouring pixels are too high. This is very noticeable on white text with black background which is a common scenario when using dark mode. There are many more scenarios where blooming artifacts has shown to be a problem on FALD displays such as a night sky with tiny shining stars or the mouse cursor on a traditional computer. The image below shows a comparison between Samsung's LCD with 50 dimming zones, TCL's mini LED with 15,000 LEDs but only 768 dimming zones and LG's OLED (24,883,200 zones? 😏).

HDTVTest_blooming_cut.jpg

Image captured from YouTube channel HDTVTest. Video: TCL X10 4K TV Review: Mini LED vs OLED vs QLED!!

In december of 2019, we got a juicy rumor from Kuo Ming-Chi himself about a 12.9" iPad Pro with a mini LED display. According to Kuo, this new iPad will use approximately 10,000 LEDs. Each LED would be below 200 microns in size. We're currently expecting this iPad to be released in early 2021. Compared to the paltry 576 LEDs of the Pro Display XDR, 10,000 LEDs should lead to less blooming artifacts assuming that the LEDs can be controlled individually. Could this be good enough to leave us not wishing for OLED?

As we got an approximate number of LEDs we can speculate on what resolution the backlight system will have. The 12.9" iPad has a traditional 4:3 display with a resolution of 2732 x 2048. Assuming an LED grid size of 120 x 90 we would have 10,800 LEDs in total, each covering ~22.76 pixels or ~2.184 mm. In 2D, that would be ~518 pixels or ~4.77 mm². With a size of 0.2 mm, these LEDs will be sparsely distributed in a similar manner to Pro Display XDR. The new iPad might not get 120 x 90 LEDs exactly. I might be wrong by a few rows/columns but we can use this number for now to visualize how some UI elements and other content might handle these dimming zones on the screen.

homescreen.png

First we have the homescreen, in dark mode of course. This example shows how small the dimming zones are compared to UI elements. Icons will be on a 6x6 grid meaning that black level detail will likely be lost on some icons like Measure and VoiceMemos. Text has about the height of one full LED but text elements are not always aligned to the grid which means that we should see some blooming on this dark background. The background itself has pronounced edges between the orange/red/pink color and black which would work well with these small LEDs.

keynote.png

Next we have a Keynote presentation with Files in slide over. Large UI elements like the top bar will benefit the most here as a big part of it is completely black with the exception of the blue buttons and title text. Some file icons like the styling sheet will probably retain a black color while the white files could be bright white. The skater in the presentation have deep black pants as they are covered by many LEDs.

wwdc19video.png

And last we have an image of a 16:9 video of WWDC19. I personally think video will benefit the most from the transition to mini LED. The iPad will finally have true HDR support, deep blacks and true black bars for 16:9, 2:1 and 21:9 content in full screen. That neon Apple logo would look so good surrounded by the black background.

Of course this all depends on if these LEDs are individually controllable resulting in 10,000 dimming zones. We could end up with something similar to the TLC TV above and none of this would apply. Local dimming might not even work for anything other than video if it's not possible to control this many points at a low enough latency.

What I want to say is that I'm looking forward to this and I can't wait to see it with my own eyes. Are you guys as hyped as I am? :apple:
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Marlon DLTH :)

jb1280

macrumors 6502a
Jan 13, 2009
835
105
Honestly sounds like amazing technology, but the current iPad Pro 12.9 has the best display I’ve ever seen, and I don’t think my eyes are good enough to recognize something better
 
Comment

Moonjumper

macrumors 68020
Jun 20, 2009
2,356
2,070
Lincoln, UK
It is an interesting post, but one small issue. mini LED is not a watered down micro LED, they are fundamentally different. mini LED is a better backlight for LCD screens. micro LED is a self-emitting screen.

The post does say if the LEDs can be controlled individually. It might not be the case, or there is another reason for having fewer zones than LEDs, as this is something a number of existing screens do. For example, the TCL X10 mentioned in the post has 15,000 LEDs, but only 768 dimming zones. Better than the 576 for the XDR display. I think it highly likely an iPad will be similar and have less than 1000 zones, but hopefully there will be many more.

As said, it will be great for watching video, but could be bad for creating art. Individual pixels could be showing the same RGB value, but look different because they belong to a different zone with different dimming because of what else is in the zone.
 
Comment

GubbyMan

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Apr 3, 2011
327
1,096
It is an interesting post, but one small issue. mini LED is not a watered down micro LED, they are fundamentally different. mini LED is a better backlight for LCD screens. micro LED is a self-emitting screen.

The post does say if the LEDs can be controlled individually. It might not be the case, or there is another reason for having fewer zones than LEDs, as this is something a number of existing screens do. For example, the TCL X10 mentioned in the post has 15,000 LEDs, but only 768 dimming zones. Better than the 576 for the XDR display. I think it highly likely an iPad will be similar and have less than 1000 zones, but hopefully there will be many more.

As said, it will be great for watching video, but could be bad for creating art. Individual pixels could be showing the same RGB value, but look different because they belong to a different zone with different dimming because of what else is in the zone.

Thanks I corrected what I wrote about it being watered down. Even though I knew they were different technologies I somehow still handled them like they were the same thing.

It’s interesting that you mentioned art where you don’t want the backlight to be different. I never thought about it like that before. I couldn’t find anything about how Pro Display XDR handles this, Does it only use dimming zones for video? Otherwise I think in a mobile device where the screen consumes a lot of battery they will at least want to dim the sections that are completely black and maybe make it possible to prevent some sections from using different brightness on different zones.

I‘m honestly just hoping that Apple got their hands on a better mini LED implementation than TCL. Maybe I should just lower my expectations for now and wait for more rumors. 🧐
 
  • Like
Reactions: Moonjumper
Comment

Moonjumper

macrumors 68020
Jun 20, 2009
2,356
2,070
Lincoln, UK
Thanks I corrected what I wrote about it being watered down. Even though I knew they were different technologies I somehow still handled them like they were the same thing.

It’s interesting that you mentioned art where you don’t want the backlight to be different. I never thought about it like that before. I couldn’t find anything about how Pro Display XDR handles this, Does it only use dimming zones for video? Otherwise I think in a mobile device where the screen consumes a lot of battery they will at least want to dim the sections that are completely black and maybe make it possible to prevent some sections from using different brightness on different zones.

I‘m honestly just hoping that Apple got their hands on a better mini LED implementation than TCL. Maybe I should just lower my expectations for now and wait for more rumors. 🧐
I’m not aware of the XDR doing anything about it, and am unlikely to find out at that price. I had to turn off dynamic backlighting on a past monitor because it was affecting colours. I don’t think I could trust the colours with local dimming.
 
Comment

TheRealAlex

macrumors 68020
Sep 2, 2015
2,251
1,291
I don’t Care if the 2021 iPad Pro has an Mini-LED Display. Frankly I think Apple will Creat a 3rd Tier of IPad As Ming Kuo has rumored. Same way Apple has 3 Tiers of Laptops.

Tier 1 will be iPad and iPad Mini
Tier 2 will be iPad Pro 11” and 12.9”
Tier 3 will be iPad XDR 13” with Features like HDR Dolby Vision and 4K and it will be $500+ over. The 12.9” iPad Pro and it will be Pushed as a Portable XDR Pro Display and have all of the Color Calibration Profiles as the $8,000 XDR Display and Apple will use fancy Ads showing the 34” XDR Pro display Shrinking down into a backpack size.
And it will be Pushed as a Professional product for Creators

I frankly don’t want 1st Generation of an Apple Mini-LED Display the 2nd Gen is always best. And Personally I won’t be touching a new iPad Pro until it has 3 Features.

#1. Thunderbolt 3 full speed.
#2. 8GB Samsung LPGDDR5 RAM
#3. A 5nm TSMC 8 CORE 3.0Ghz CPU A15X projected. 2022-2023 4th Quarter
 
Comment

The Game 161

macrumors Core
Dec 15, 2010
23,744
12,943
UK
Micro LED will be rather huge but wouldn’t say mini LED Will be that groundbreaking.
 
Comment

lakerchick4life

macrumors 6502a
Oct 14, 2007
853
179
Would be great if they came up with a mini LED iPad Pro 12.9 inch this year, that is the iPad Im waiting for, would trade in my 2018 model for that one..but so far no word about it coming out in Q4
 
Comment
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.