As we approach the final quarter of 2020, Apple starts to prepare for 2021 with new Mini-LED displays for future Mac notebooks and iPads.
With more competition amongst Apple's suppliers, Apple could be ahead of its original schedule to supply new products with the Mini-LED technology.
According to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple appears to be accelerating its manufacturing process for Mini-LED displays. We will reveal what we know so far in the following section.
Apple's Suppliers for mini-LED Technology
Originally, Epistar was Apple's exclusive supplier for producing the mini-LED technology chips and scheduled for 2022. Fortunately, Sanan Optoelectronics performed ahead of schedule and outcompete Epistar.
The reported cost for the Mini-LED display drops from approximately $75-$85 to $45. The significant decrease in Apple's product cost shifts its original estimates for a "10-20% shipment share for both product lines."
The updated expectation for the Mini-LED display is to be featured in 30-40% of the upcoming iPad orders and 20-30% of the Mac shipments for 2021.
Kuo's analysis is further explained in the following note:
Although Epistar has met Apple's mass production requirements, we believe that Apple continues to look for new suppliers in order to reduce supply risks and costs. Among the second supplier candidates, Sanan Optoelectronics' development schedule and cost are superior to competitors (including Osram and Seoul Semiconductor). We predict that Sanan Optoelectronics will have 20–30% and 45–55% of Apple’s Mini-LED market share in 2021 and 2022, respectively (vs. our previous estimates of 0% and 10–20%), plus non-Apple. The demand for Mini-LEDs in China has grown, so we believe that Sanan Optoelectronics will significantly benefit from the Mini-LED business in the next 3-5 years.
Mini-LED Technology and Future Apple Products
The Mini-LED technology enhances the display quality by using individual LED lights to improve previous LED-backlit screens.
This upgrade will give users a new experience in viewing a display with more contrasting colors to view blacks, whites, and colors more vibrantly.
Although the Mini-LED display technology sounds attractive, the cost to produce it is the most significant obstacle.
With Kuo's analysis that Apple will have a lower production cost due to the unexpected performance from its suppliers, we can expect to see the new technology added to most of Apple's products next year.
The Mini-LED display technology is expected to be included in Apple's 2021 products, including the following:
- 12.9-inch iPad Pro
- 27-inch iMac Pro
- 14.1-inch MacBook Pro
- 16-inch MacBook Pro
- 10.2-inch iPad
- 7.9-inch iPad mini
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