Apple iPads in 2024 to feature thinner hybrid OLED displays that are cheaper and do not crumple
Future Apple iPads could be much thinner thanks to a new OLED display technology. Dubbed hybrid OLED, this technology is said to make the panels thinner compared to the rigid ones available today.
Korean publication, The Elec, first reported about hybrid OLED back in August. The publication said back then that Apple could be looking to use hybrid OLEDs — that combine rigid and flexible panel substrates — instead of flexible displays. Reportedly, Apple feels that flexible displays give a crumpled look, which becomes apparent especially in larger screen sizes. The publication said (machine translated from Korean),
When it became known that Apple plans to apply hybrid OLED to the first OLED iPad, the industry has assumed that the cause was cost reduction.
However, it is understood that there is a reason why Apple preferred hybrid OLED other than this cost reduction. An official from the parts industry said, "Apple hated the fact that a part of the product screen could look wrinkled to the user's eyes when using a flexible OLED." He said, "iPhone OLED has a 5-7 inch screen, so these characteristics are not well revealed, but it is relatively noticeable in large-screen (10-20 inch) IT products. he explained."
Hybrid OLED combines rigid OLED glass substrates with flexible thin-film encapsulation that purportedly results in thinner panels and lower production costs. Given that such an OLED technology is still in development, we may have to wait at least till 2024 before seeing it in iPads and possibly other devices.
Now, DigiTimes reports that Apple has roped in another supplier that will also be involved in the upcoming 12.9-inch iPad Pro and MacBook Pro refreshes. According to DigiTimes,
Taiwan Surface Mounting Technology (Taiwan SMT) will undertake SMT process for mini LED backlighting of 12.9-inch iPad Pro and MacBook Pro, becoming an Apple supply chain maker for the first time, according to industry sources."
Apart from helping with some equipment dedicated to the SMT process for mini-LED backlighting, Apple has also given some financial impetus to Taiwan SMT in order to boost production, according to the report.
Apple is expected to continue employing mini-LED technology till hybrid OLED finally sees the light of the day, which is reportedly unlikely before 2024. Current Apple products that use mini-LED displays include the MacBook Pro 14, MacBook Pro 16, and the iPad Pro 12.9. These devices are expected to get refreshed to feature M2 SoCs later this year.