Epistar president Chin-Yung Fan said his company’s clients are developing notebooks, tablets, smartphones, and monitors with Mini-LED backlighting systems, which will naturally boost demand for Mini-LEDs in the second half of 2020, according to Taiwanese industry publication DigiTimes.
Epistar is an Apple supplier, leading to the possibility that the iPhone maker is one of the unnamed clients working on Mini-LED products, as previously rumored, but Epistar declined to comment on any specific clients.
Last week, noted Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of investor firm TF International Securities said Apple plans to release an iPad with a Mini-LED display between the fourth quarter of 2020 and the first quarter of 2021, followed by a MacBook with a Mini-LED display in the first or second quarter of 2021.
Kuo said Epistar will be one of Apple’s suppliers for those iPad and MacBook models. Epistar is the largest LED manufacturer in Taiwan.
Kuo expects the iPad and MacBook to be positioned at the high end of their respective product lines due to costly Mini-LED display components, suggesting they will be iPad Pro and MacBook Pro models. He previously said the iPad will have a 10-12 inch screen and the MacBook will fall in the 15-17 inch range.
Kuo added that the Mini-LED backlit displays will allow 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.
The future iPad and MacBook displays will each use approximately 10,000 LEDs, compared to 576 in Apple’s upcoming Pro Display XDR, according to Kuo. Each LED is said to be very small — below 200 microns in size.
Apple continues to use LCDs across its entire iPad and Mac lineups for now, but if this rumor proves to be accurate, we can expect the first Mini-LED models within the next 12 to 18 months or so. Prices will likely start on the higher side, but the technology should shuffle its way down the lineup in the years to come.