Apple’s mini LED backlight modules will adopt three-layer rigid boards, which require higher flatness and hole density than general rigid PCBs to support mass transfer technology, with materials also having to achieve extremely low shrinkage/expansion rates, the sources said.
According to today’s report, Apple has brought Tripod into the supply chain for Apple’s forthcoming mini LED devices because of the manufacturer’s good cost control capability and production management.
The manufacturer will reportedly share orders for mini LED backlight modules with leading Taiwanese PCB supplier Zhen Ding Technology, but it will need to purchase high-precision drilling machines and other automation equipment to meet the requirement. The supplier is said to be beginning trial production of sample super-thin rigid boards, and could start volume production in early 2021.
Apple is eager to adopt mini-LED technology as it allows for thinner and lighter product designs, while offering many of the same benefits of OLED displays used on the latest iPhones, including good wide color gamut performance, high contrast and dynamic range, and local dimming for truer blacks.
Apple has six mini-LED products in the works that are set to debut in 2020 and 2021, according to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Apple is said to be debuting the technology in a 12.9-inch iPad Pro for launch later this year, followed by a 27-inch iMac Pro, a 14.1-inch MacBook Pro, a 16-inch MacBook Pro, a 10.2.-inch iPad, and a 7.9-inch iPad mini.
Kuo hasn’t given projected launch dates for the other devices with the exception of the iMac Pro, which Kuo expects to launch in the fourth quarter of 2020, and the 7.9-inch iPad mini, which he says will launch in 2020.