Apple’s next tablet to be announced will be an updated iPad Pro, according to ferociously reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of TF International Securities, coming as soon as next month, he says, and picked up by 9to5Mac.
But wait, you say, the iPad Pro just had a refresh, with LiDAR scanner and improved processor, only six months ago. You’re not wrong, so, surely, there can’t be another so soon, can there?
Apple has updated an iPad twice in a year in the past, but only once, when the third-generation iPad was updated to fourth-generation, with the tablets landing in Spring and Fall 2012 respectively. Apple took some criticism for that and has never replaced a tablet on such a short timetable since.
Until now, it seems. So, why would that be and what’s coming?
So, what’s new?
The next iPad Pro will look pretty similar to the current model, from the back at least. But the display will use a whole new technology. While it had been assumed that Apple would eventually move its tablet screens from LCD to OLED, that hasn’t happened. It should be said that Apple’s IPS-LCD screens are the best in the business, and nobody complains that their iPad display doesn’t look good. On the other hand, OLED isn’t impossible on larger displays – Samsung’s tablets have been using them for years and they look tremendous.
The new screen technology will be…
IPS-LCD, but with a different kind of backlighting, in this case miniLED. In some ways, miniLED backlighting offers similar benefits to OLED, with more LEDs allowing different brightness levels across the display, where regular LCD doesn’t. In turn this means greater brightness levels, deeper, inkier black shades and improved power usage. Plus, where OLED can suffer from burn-in, miniLED and LCD combined do not. There’s also longer battery life than OLED promises.
Which iPads will have miniLED?
Kuo has said that it will come to 30-40% of iPads over time, not to mention some Mac laptops. But, even though Apple has managed to get the price down, this is a tech that brings a price premium, so Apple will introduce it on the most expensive iPad, the iPad Pro, first. And specifically the larger iPad Pro, with its 12.9in display, rather than the 11in model, it seems.
When’s it coming?
Well, it seems that the next iPad Pro was expected some time in 2021, but there has been a significant acceleration in progress which has made this year possible for delivery. Kuo says some time in Q4, that is any time from October 1 onwards. Apple likes to launch its new products in good time for holiday season, so perhaps this will be announced alongside the next iPhones, expected to be on October 13 for release on October 23.
Personally, I think the announcement and sales might happen a little later than that, so perhaps early November. Even so, not long now.
I’ll be updating this story as more details emerge.