Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has previously written that Apple is prepping at least six iPad and Mac products with mini-LED displays for launch by the end of 2021, but he reports that the initial batch of mini-LED displays arriving through the end of 2020 will be for an iPad Pro.
Apple’s mini LED dies will be mass-produced in 4Q20, but due to yield issues related to the production process of display module materials, the 4Q20 display shipments have been revised down by 50% to 300,000-400,000. We believe that the mini LED display in 4Q20 will be used for the new iPad Pro. — Ming-Chi Kuo
Kuo says that Epistar remains Apple’s initial partner for mini-LED chips, but that Sanan and others should be able to quickly join Apple’s supply chain as existing patents are not expected to serve as significant barriers to entry. As a result, mini-LED efforts by Apple and its suppliers have effectively moved from the “technology development” stage to the “economies of scale/cost” stage.
While Sanan has seen rapid development of its mini-LED capabilities that could allow it ship large quantities of the chips to Apple in the first half of 2021, Kuo says that Epistar has experienced some yield issues that have led Kuo to reduce his fourth-quarter 2020 display shipment estimates by 50% to between 300,000 and 400,000.
Kuo has long predicted that a high-end 12.9-inch iPad Pro would likely be Apple’s first mini-LED product.
MacDailyNews Take: 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 said to launch in calendar third-quarter 2020.
Earlier in December 2019, Ming-Chi Kuo reiterated that Apple was planning four to six products with mini-LED displays over the next two to three years, including a high-end 12.9-inch iPad Pro for Q320.