OLED iPad production underway for reported spring launch

A new supply-chain report says that OLED iPad production is now underway. LG is said to have recently started manufacturing displays for the 13-inch iPad Pro, with OLED panels for the 11-inch model expected to begin any day now.

Samsung is reportedly beginning its own production of OLED iPad panels sometime this week, as we approach a reputed spring launch …

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Apple’s four-generation display journey

We’ve previously outlined Apple’s display roadmap:

  • IPS LCD with conventional backlighting. This is still used in older Macs and cheaper iPhones.
  • IPS LCD with miniLED backlighting. Apple switched to this for iPad Pro models, and is now using it in the new MacBook Pro. It allows for darker blacks and brighter whites, and makes a surprising difference.
  • OLED. Apple first adopted this in the Apple Watch before bringing it to the iPhone, starting with the iPhone X. Apple has not yet used this in either iPads or MacBooks, but is expected to do so this year, starting with the iPad Pro models.
  • MicroLED. Despite the similarity in name to miniLED, this is a completely different technology. It’s effectively a much more sophisticated version of OLED. It’s brighter, more power-efficient, and doesn’t suffer from burn-in. Apple’s interest in microLED dates back to at least 2014, and while there have been some signs of progress, this tech is still at a very early stage of development. As with OLED, it’s likely to come first to the Apple Watch, then iPhone, iPad, and Macs, in that order.

OLED iPad models

This is the year Apple is expected to make the transition to OLED screens for the iPad Pro line-up.

Current models use LCD screens. The 11-inch model has conventional backlighting, while the 12.9-inch model uses mini-LED backlighting. Both are expected to make the switch to OLED, with the larger model getting a very slight size bump to an even 13 inches.

There have been consistent reports that 2024 is the year in which Apple launches the first OLED iPads, with Bloomberg reporting that this would happen in the spring.

Display production underway

TheElec reports that display production for the upcoming devices is now underway.

LG Display recently started production of the 13-inch model [and] is also planning to start production of the 11-inch model […]

Samsung Display is going into production of Apple iPad OLED this week.

The report says that it expects the first fully-assembled iPads to be shipped to Apple in April.

Apple is reportedly using the most advanced form of OLED, combining a hybrid glass-polyamide film with two stack tandem OLED, which uses two layers of pixels instead of one. This increases brightness while also reducing burn-in, which has historically proven a downside of larger OLED screens.

Given this, there have been unlikely reports of huge price hikes this year. While we do expect prices to rise, the increases are likely to be far more modest than those suggested.

Image by Lucas K on Unsplash

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