Kuo: Cheaper mini-LED production will see Apple increase its use in iPad and MacBook lineups

iPadOS 14
iPadOS 14 (Image credit: Joseph Keller / iMore)

What you need to know

  • Apple is expected to switch to mini-LED displays next year.
  • Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo reports increased manufacturing competition has reduced manufacturing price.
  • That could lead Apple to move to mini-LED more quickly than previously anticipated.

Apple's move to mini-LED looks set to be accelerated thanks to a fall in the price of manufacturing, according to a Ming-Chi Kuo research note seen by iMore. Kuo says that both Sanan Optoelectronics and Epistar are battling for Apple's business, pushing down the price the company will need to pay for parts.

Shipments of mini-LED displays for use in iPads and MacBooks are expected to begin next year, with Epistar previously expected to be the sole supplier. Kuo says that Epistar has been able to meet Apple's requirements, but that hasn't stopped it from looking to bring other suppliers online for multiple reasons. Additional capacity, increased yield, and increased competition are all reasons Apple would not want to solely rely on a single manufacturer.

Kuo believes that Apple intends to speed up its adoption of min-LED due to the reduced cost, with the iPad and MacBook lineups being the first to pick up the new technology. The use of mini-LED will allow displays to be made thinner while also reducing their power consumption. The reasons Apple would want such a display in its iPads and MacBooks are pretty obvious.

We heard earlier this year that Apple was already trialing the production of an iPad Pro with mini-LED technology ready for a launch later in 2020. This latest research note doesn't mention that timeframe, instead saying Apple has 2021 in mind for mini-LED products.

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.