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Mini-LED MacBooks and iPads are coming in 2021, analyst says

Apple is working on high-end iPad and MacBook models equipped with Mini-LED displays, which will be released sometime between late 2020 and the middle of 2021. That’s according to tech analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, whose reputation for accuracy is unsurpassed in the industry.

In a research note seen by MacRumors, Kuo explains how Apple will shift the displays in some of its devices away from the current panels to the much higher-quality Mini-LED. According to Kuo, the displays in both devices will contain around 10,000 LEDs — for comparison, the upcoming Pro Display XDR will have 576 LEDs. Apple will be able to do this by using LEDs that are below 200 microns in size, which is far smaller than those used in the XDR panel.

Packing in so many more LEDs will supposedly result in a far superior display, with strong HDR performance, high contrast, and a wide color gamut, plus the thin and light design that Apple so often lusts after. While OLED panels can offer comparable color gamut quality to Mini-LED screens and mass production yields are improving, Kuo believes Apple is also pushing for Mini-LED in order to avoid the burn-in issues that can affect OLED screens.

As well as that, it would allow Apple to reduce its reliance on arch-rival Samsung, which currently makes the displays in Apple’s iPad Pro. Kuo says he expects LG Display to make the Mini-LED screens, with contributions from Epistar, Zhen Ding, Radiant Opto-Electronics, Nichia, Avary Holding, and TSMT.

However, all this high-tech wizardry will come at a cost. Kuo says he believes the cost of the Mini-LED panels will mean they’ll only be available in Apple’s high-end iPads and MacBook Pro models. While he didn’t explicitly say so, this probably means they’ll be in the iPad Pro and MacBook Pro, skipping more entry-level devices like the new 10.2-inch iPad and MacBook Air.

We’ve previously discussed how we believe Apple’s rumored 16-inch MacBook Pro will be an opportunity for Apple to go all-in on making a flagship device that showcases the company’s tech prowess. Well, this laptop would presumably be decked out with the Mini-LED display, while the entry-level and midrange MacBook Pro models could stick with Apple’s current display tech. Given the 16-inch MacBook Pro will supposedly be announced this year, we’ll probably have to wait a while for it to come equipped with the Mini-LED screen.

Kuo states his belief that the Mini-LED iPad will launch between the fourth quarter of 2020 and the first quarter of 2021. The Mini-LED MacBook will then follow somewhere between the first and second quarters of 2021. We’ll bring you all the latest news on these devices as soon as more details emerge.

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