According to TrendForce, in the first quarter of next year, Apple is expected to not only release its 12.9-inch, Mini LED backlight-equipped iPad Pro, but also open contract bids for its 14-inch and 16-inch MacBooks.
As Apple’s upcoming release of products featuring Mini LED backlight generates a growth in Mini LED demand, the company has also stimulated suppliers in the Mini LED supply chain to increase their production capacities.
Mini LED backlight displays have high brightness and high contrast ratios, which can reach upwards of 1,000,000:1, compared to the 10,000:1 contrast ratios of current mainstream displays. Furthermore, Mini LED displays are also highly reliable, as they can maintain their proper functioning and deliver a consistent brightness in harsh environments with temperatures between 60 degrees to -10 degrees Celsius. All of these strengths make Mini LED technology especially attractive to branded manufacturers. As such, Apple has incorporated Mini LED backlights as one of its core areas of focus in the company’s future planning process of new display products.
Although Chinese manufacturers currently possess enormous production capacity and cost advantages in the upstream and downstream LED supply chain, Apple has instead chosen to collaborate with Taiwanese manufacturers (which form a more stable supply chain), in an effort to avoid impacts from the China-U.S. trade war. In addition, Taiwan invested in LED R&D significantly earlier than China did, meaning it leads the latter in terms of both technological maturity and patents. These advantages, combined with the ease of procuring raw materials and components, make Taiwanese suppliers more efficient in the development of new technologies.
Apple’s 12.9-inch iPad Pro is expected to feature 10,384 Mini LED chips and achieve high contrast ratio and high color saturation through local dimming; as such, the biggest challenge facing manufacturers in the supply chain remains the demand for low cost and high yield rate, according to TrendForce.
MacDailyNews Note: Back in December 2019, DigiTimes reported that Taiwan-based supply chain makers including Epistar, General Interface Solution (GIS), Taiwan Surface Mounting Technology (TSMT), Zhen Ding Technology, and Flexium Interconnect were poised to receive orders for components to be used in a 12.9-inch Mini LED iPad Pro that Apple was, at the time, said to launch in calendar third-quarter 2020.