Rumour | Apple delays 5G, A14X Bionic and mini-LED iPad Pro refresh until early 2021
The new iPad Pro series has proven to be a bit of a letdown. After eighteen months of waiting, all Apple could muster was a LiDAR sensor and a new Magic Keyboard for its new premier tablets, sold separately of course. Rumours about Apple launching a bigger iPad Pro refresh in late 2020 have been kicking around for a while now, though. Originally reported in December by MacRumors, the device was said to feature an A14X Bionic chipset and a 12.9-inch mini-LED panel. DigiTimes added a 5G modem to the list of rumoured hardware in February, while claiming that the A14X Bionic would be based on a 5 nm manufacturing process. More recently, Jon Prosser reiterated MacRumors and DigiTimes, minus the switch to mini-LED panel technology.
However, MacRumors is now reporting that Apple may have delayed the refresh until early 2021. Citing Jeff Pu of GF Securities, the website claims that the complex design of the tablet's mini-LED panel has put paid to Apple meeting its original late 2020 release window. Not to be confused with MicroLED, mini-LED panels have around 1,000 local dimming zones, with each LEDs measuring anywhere from 0.1 to 0.2 mm. With around 10x the volume of dimming zones, mini-LED panels should have higher contrast ratios than typical LED panels, albeit not quite OLED levels.
Prosser has now elaborated that a 2020 5G and A14X Bionic iPad Pro would be a one-off, not a full refresh. Effectively, this 5G and A14X Bionic iPad Pro would be a new flagship SKU before Apple releases fifth-generation units with mini-LED panels in 2021. If true, then Apple would have three iPad Pro launches in a year, which seems excessive. Nonetheless, Apple repackaged the A12X Bionic after eighteen months, so we would not rule anything out when it comes to new iPad Pros.