Apple's third miniLED supplier is on the rocks following certification issue

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What you need to know

  • Apple's attempts to bring a third miniLED supplier online are failing.
  • Sanan Optoelectronics has failed certification, preventing it from working for Apple.
  • Poor quality and potential patent issues are two of the reasons being suggested for the certification failure.

Apple is struggling to find a third supplier of miniLED display chips after the one that was earmarked, Chinese outfit Sanan Optoelectronics, failed the certifications the company requires. According to a new report, the failure to pass the certification process could be related to patents or quality problems. Whatever the reason, Sanan isn't going to be supplying Apple just yet.

Apple currently uses miniLED screens in its 12.9-inch iPad Pro as well as the new 14 and 16-inch MacBook Pro and it's thought that the technology will be used in other devices in due course. However, with Germany-based Ams Osram and Taiwan-based Epistar already on board, Apple requires a third partner to pass its certification to lighten the load. According to a DigiTimes report picked up by MacRumors, that's proving problematic with the Sanan certification process hitting an unconfirmed roadblock.

As Apple requires that its supply chain makers have sufficient tech licenses of their own or from others to avoid patent infringement, Sanan's failure to pass certification, besides quality problems, is possibly related to patent issues, the sources suggested.

Future Macs that could include miniLED screens include a redesigned MacBook Air and new iPads, all adding strain to Apple;'s existing infrastructure.

Right now the best Mac and iPad displays are miniLED and Apple will likely want to move as many machines over to the display technology as possible.

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.