If you’re dreaming of a Mac Christmas, you may want to hold off buying an iPad or MacBook until at least next year. In typical Apple fashion, the company continues to refine its products — even the ones it just announced—and a big change could be coming to iPads first.
The change will not be cosmetic; it will affect how you experience the display. The change may make its way to other Apple products as well, such as the MacBook and even the iPhone.
Right now, any possible changes to the iPad are all talk and rumor — but it is intriguing. We have the skinny on what major change could be coming soon to iPads.
Changing what you see
Apple plans to replace its LCD display on high-end iPads in favor of MiniLED, according to a note to investors from an analyst at TF International Securities. Macrumors was the first to obtain the note, which stated iPads with MiniLEDs could be ready to hit the market by late 2020.
If Apple is indeed going the miniLED route, that likely means it’s dropping plans to use OLED on the iPad. The company currently uses OLED on its high-end iPhones.
A move to miniLED for the iPad could signal that Apple is looking to redesign the device. MiniLED uses more LEDs than OLED, but the pixels are extremely small. That would allow Apple to build a thinner and lighter iPad while maintaining image quality.
OLED may be endangered
In his note, the analyst also stated that Apple could be switching its more expensive MacBooks to MiniLED displays by 2021. According to the analyst, OLED may, in fact, be an endangered species in the Apple ecosystem.
The note continued, stating Apple might drop OLED entirely. After converting MacBooks to MiniLED, the iPhone would transition to the new display.
The move is likely part of Apple’s strategy to become less dependent on Samsung for its OLED supply. A group of companies, including LG Display, would provide Apple with the MiniLED components.
Besides moving away from Samsung, the MiniLED displays will offer good performance on the wide color gamut, high contrast, HDR and local dimming.
Research by TF International Securities found that the MiniLED displays for iPads and MacBooks will each use about 10,000 LED, compared to the 576 LEDs in Apple’s new Pro Display XDR. Each LED in a MiniLED display is about 200 microns in size—much smaller than those in the Pro Display XDR.
Apple plans to release the iPad with the MiniLED display between the fourth quarter of 2020 and the first quarter of 2021. The MiniLED MacBook will be released between the first quarter and the second quarter of 2021.
An iPad update is already here
The timing of the analyst’s note is strange, considering Apple just announced a change to its basic iPad. The company introduced the change last month at its annual hardware event.
The basic iPad will now have a 10.2-inch display, meaning the end of the 9.7-inch display that Apple has used on its iPad for almost a decade. The new iPad also features upgraded internals and longer-lasting battery life. The refreshed basic iPad is already on sale.
So you have a choice: If you buy the basic iPad now, you’ll get a larger screen at a reasonable price. If you wait until late 2020 you’ll have a larger display but the high-end iPad will have a MiniLED and it could be slimmer, lighter and definitely more expensive. Your wallet could end up making the decision for you.