Rumors of the iPad Pro have been like a tennis match the last couple of years – back and forth and everywhere. There were rumors that one would arrive late last year. It obviously did not happen, but we got a little update in the spring. Very small, but it’s ok. Already last year, we also started hearing rumors about Mini-LED screens and 5G that came to the Pro line.
Most of the reports pointed to the second half of the year until COVID hit. When supply chains derailed last spring, and it became clear that this was a pandemic that would affect the entire globe, these liberation predictions began to slip. Because of this, there has been the expectation for a while that a new iPad Pro would not come until sometime in 2021
Until last week, that is. Last Wednesday, the well-known supply chain leader Ming-Chi Kuo published a report that was contrary to what had been a fairly consistent story. He believes that, despite some setbacks in early returns, Mini-LED development is ahead of schedule, alternative vendors are ready to come on board, and that this year’s production will be focused on a new iPad Pro, rather than a MacBook Pro. .
Normally I would be very skeptical of such a claim, but Kuo is well known and respected and is also the best of the supply chain-focused Apple leakers, in my opinion. If he says that something is happening at the end of production in Southeast Asia, it is probably true.
However, Kuo is also not the only name in Apple supply chain leaks. A few days ago, DigiTimes released a report that also touches on the Mini-LED iPad Pro. While the article is mainly focused on other Mini-LED providers coming online, it is clear that they expect the new iPad Pro to arrive in early 2021.
It is interesting that both Kuos and DigiTime’s reports agree that Osram Opto is a new Mini-LED supplier, and that they will start supplying monitors to Apple next year. They also both mention that primary supplier Epistar is working to overcome some current battle with returns. Kuo and DigiTimes only disagree on the release date of the new Pro.
Normally I would take Kuo over DigiTimes when it comes to something like that. It’s not that DigiTimes is a bad source. However, they tend to report EVERYTHING in the supply chain, which sometimes includes information about testing, prototypes and things that do not make it to full production. Because of that, some of what they report never gets on the shelves. However, there is absolute value in that kind of detail when we look at what supply chains are doing. This is a completely different perspective, as Kuo usually forces on what is in Apple’s production pipeline.
Because of how DigiTimes does things and how focused Kuo is on Apple, I would normally favor what he predicts. However, he is still outlier in this matter. Because all the other recent predictions have been for the Mini-LED iPad Pro to come in 2021, I have to go with DigiTimes in this one. Now, if some other heavy hitters like Gurman or Prosser in late 2020 for an iPad Pro release date, that will change things. Until then, don’t expect a new iPad Pro for Christmas.