With Apple reportedly cancelling their OLED display project with Samsung for the iPad Pro, it opens the door for mini-LED displays
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Over the last two years there have been rumors of Apple leaping to mini-LED based displays for future MacBook Pro and iPad Pro devices (01, 02, 03 and 04). In that light, it's interesting to learn today in a new supply chain report from The Elec in Korea that Apple and Samsung Display have canceled their joint project to develop a 10.86-inch OLED iPad display. The iPad with this new display was originally slated to launch in 2022 and would have been Apple's first iPad to sport an OLED panel.
The report notes that Apple had requested a two stack tandem structure instead for the OLED panel it wanted to use on its iPad. The structure stacks two red, green and blue emission layers instead of just one. This would have doubled the brightness and extends the panel’s life by up to four times. Apple had wanted this as tablets are usually used longer by consumers than smartphones.
Despite the request, Samsung Display proposed a single stack structure. The display panel maker, the world’s largest OLED panel manufacturer, has so far only commercialized single stack structure.
Profitability is an issue for Samsung Display. Unless the company can be certain that the 10.86-inch OLED iPad will be sold for a long time, preparing for the back-end module process for the products would be too costly for Samsung.
Apple apparently had two versions of the OLED display. One of them was likely to be a 12.9-inch model launching in either 2023 or 2024 and a different one planned for the 10.86-inch OLED iPad model.
Apple was planning to both apply the two stack tandem structure as well as thin-film transistor (TFT) low-temperature polycrystalline oxide (LTPO) for the two OLED iPads. For more on this, read the full report from The Elec.
While the report from The Elec is perhaps a piece of the puzzle relating to the future display type that Apple will choose for the iPad Pro, it ignores the parallel rumors in the supply chain that state that Apple is working on mini-LED displays for the future of both the iPad Pro and MacBook Pro devices.
Last Friday Engadget's D. Hardawar reviewed Dell's new XPS 15 OLED notebook and made a huge deal about the quality that the new OLED display brings to Dell's notebook with "inky" black that LCD's can't touch.
Apple leaping to OLED would be a nice shift, though a leap to mini-LED could easily leapfrog OLED quality and that may be why Apple is working to go that route. However, rumors from Apple's supply chain over the last two years have sent out mixed messages. While the timing to market for either display technology seems to be in question, Apple fans will be happy with either shift from away from LCD.