The latest details on the use of mini-LED screens come from noted industry analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Erik Slivka reports:
Kuo says that while Epistar had been predicted to be the exclusive supplier of mini-LED chips for Apple products in 2021, Sanan Optoelectronics has experienced better than expected development on the technology and will also begin supplying Apple in 2021 rather than the previously estimated timeframe of 2022.”
Kuo’s expectation is that the previous estimates of between 10 and 20 percent of iPad and MacBook shipments using mini-LED will rise to between 30 and 40 percent of iPads and 20 to 30 percent of MacBooks
The increased supply likely means the increased adoption of mini-LED technology in Apple’s portfolio, rather than increased sales of the devices initially expected to sport mini-LED. Although Apple has weathered the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, the burst of sales as consumers and businesses prepared to work from home with new equipment is unlikely to be repeated.
More importantly, Apple is making its usual smart play of picking two suppliers for a key technology. By adding the element of competition between the two, Apple picks up two key advantages.
The first is that Apple has a back-up option in the supply chain. If one company cannot supply the hardware, then the other can pick up the slack – and supply chain logistics during 2020 and beyond need to be a little bit more forgiving. The second is the ability to play each company against each other financially to reduce the cost of materials that Apple pays.
And the benefits?
Blacks will be more black, colours will be more vivid, and contrast will be improved as there can be a magnitude more LED elements in a mini-LED compared to a traditional display. That offers extra control over what can be shown on the screen.