2021 will reportedly be the year of mini-LED and OLED iPad Pros

12.9-inch iPad Pro
12.9-inch iPad Pro (Image credit: Joseph Keller / iMore)

What you need to know

  • A new report has Apple releasing an iPad Pro with a mini-LED screen in the first half of 2021.
  • That's expected to be followed by a new model with an OLED screen in the second half of the year.

Apple has long been rumored to have a new iPad Pro with mini-LED and OLED screens coming at some point in 2021 and now a new report pins that down as the first and second half of the year, depending on which technology you're looking for.

In term of OLED, The Elect has Apple launching an iPad Pro with the screen technology in the second half of 2021, with Samsung Display and LG Display set to provide the panels. B both companies already work with Apple on iPhone.

However, mini-LED is going to arrive before that, with a target of the first half of 2021 mentioned. And while the move to mini-LED could see the screens themselves become thicker than traditional LCD, the positives far outway that negative.

Apple is expected to use direct backlight LCD panels for the iPad Pro launching in the first half of 2021. This will make the panels thicker compared to the currently used edge method __ where backlight is attached at the sides of the LCD panels and a light guide plate is used to spread the light to the whole screen.However, using direct backlight will allow selective turning on and off of LED __ this allows for local dimming that increases contrast ratio. The edge method had required all the lights to be turned on and off at once.

The iPad Pro was last given a refresh in March of this year, although that only added a slight speed bump and the LiDAR Scanner that is now present on Apple's high-end iPhones. A full refresh, complete with external redesign, is likely to come alongside the change in screen tech in the first half of next year.

Of course, that's assuming The Elec's data is correct. We've been here with component suppliers before – and it isn't beyond the realms of possibility that this isn't Samsung Display or LG Display talking itself up for whatever reason.

Money. It's always money.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.