11-inch iPad Pro expected to pack a mini-LED display next year despite OLED panels also coming to the iPad range
Apple’s new 12.9-inch iPad Pro made a splash when it launched a few weeks ago with its new mini-LED backlit LCD panel taking center stage alongside the vaunted M1 chip. Surprisingly, the 11-inch iPad Pro model only picked up the M1 chip and continued with its standard white LED backlighting approach. Up until that point, both iPad Pro models had been in lock-step from a feature set perspective.
Although the reason hasn’t been made official by Apple, it is likely to do with rumored yield issues related to both supply chain shortages of the necessary semiconductor technology as well as problems associated with manufacturing the new technology. This is set to change with the rumored 2022 iPad Pro refresh which is said by Bloomberg to include an all-glass back. According to Apple supply chain analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple will add the mini-LED display tech to the 11-inch iPad Pro at that time too.
Interestingly, the rumor mill has also been pointing to Apple introducing OLED panels on its next refresh of the iPad Air, and possibly the redesigned iPad mini. Currently, Apple has the panels on these devices locked at 60 Hz refresh rates and it is possible Apple opted for mini-LED on the iPad Pro models as an interim step because of limited options for OLED panels that meet their technical requirements. iPad Pro models have supported 120 Hz refresh rates for several years and going backwards to 60 Hz OLED panels wouldn't be a preferred option.