Kuo: iPad Air to Adopt OLED in 2022, Mini-LED to Remain Exclusive to iPad Pro Models

Apple will transition the iPad Air to OLED displays in the second half of next year, while mini-LED display technology will remain exclusive to upcoming higher-end iPad Pro models, according to a new report from Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.



Apple is expected to be
just weeks away from launching a mini-LED ‌iPad Pro‌, the first Apple device to feature the newer technology. In Kuo’s latest investor note, seen by
MacRumors, the analyst underlines his belief that even when the ‌iPad Air‌ transitions to an OLED display in 2022, mini-LED will remain in its tablet lineup as a display technology exclusive to ‌iPad Pro‌ models.

The market is worried that if the iPad starts to use OLED in 2022, Apple will abandon the mini LED. However, according to our latest industry survey, if the ‌iPad‌ adopts an OLED display in 2022, it will be the mid-/low-end ‌iPad Air‌, while the high-end ‌iPad Pro‌ will still use a mini LED display. The adoption of OLED in ‌iPad‌ does not affect the positive trend of mini LED. Since the OLED used in ‌iPad‌ is a rigid type and has a significantly lower PPI than iPhone, it is less challenging to produce, and the cost is close to the LCD currently used in ‌iPad Air‌.

Kuo envisions a future ‌iPad‌ lineup in which OLED and mini-LED further differentiate Apple’s mid-to-low end ‌iPad Air‌ models from its ‌iPad Pro‌ devices. Apple currently uses OLED displays in the Apple Watch and the ‌iPhone‌, while Macs and ‌iPad‌ still retain the older LCD technology. OLED displays offer higher brightness, deeper blacks, and wider viewing angles. However, they often cost significantly more to produce than LCDs.

Earlier this month, DigiTimes reported that a 10.9-inch ‌iPad‌, presumably the ‌iPad Air‌, will be updated with an OLED display in early 2022. In contrast to Kuo’s note, DigiTimes stated that Apple would also adopt OLED technology for the 12.9-inch ‌iPad Pro‌. DigiTimes has also claimed that Apple might release 16-inch and 17-inch MacBook Pro with OLED later on next year.

Apple is already working on several products with mini-LED displays, including redesigned MacBook Pros. Kuo believes that Apple’s use of mini-LED will accelerate in the coming years as production costs decrease, with Apple’s mid-to-high-end devices consistently adopting the technology first.