Kuo: Mini LED iPad Pro enters production in April, OLED iPad Air in 2022

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Noted Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo expects mass production of a rumored Mini LED iPad Pro to begin sometime in mid to late April, adding that the tech giant's tablet line will adopt OLED screen technology in 2022.

Kuo updated his Mini LED predictions in a note to investors on Thursday. In September, the analyst said iPad Pro would be the first of Apple's products to integrate the display technology with an expected launch date in the first half of 2021.

"According to our latest survey, the current production yield and quality have reached Apple's high standards, so it is expected that assemblers will start mass production of mini LED iPads after mid-to-late April," Kuo said in Thursday's note.

The revised timeline is in agreement with recent rumors regarding a near-future iPad Pro release. Echoing months-old predictions from Kuo, Bloomberg on Wednesday reported that the new tablets, including a 12.9-inch model with Mini LED screen, would be introduced as soon as April. DigiTimes sources cited a similar production schedule.

Looking ahead, Kuo sees potential integration of OLED screens in the iPad line in 2022, though Mini LED will remain an exclusive feature of Apple's high-end tablets. Interestingly, OLED is predicted to land in iPad Air first and might not make its way to the flagship iPad Pro.

"However, according to our latest industry survey, if the iPad adopts an OLED display in 2022, it will be the mid-/low-end iPad Air, while the high-end iPad Pro will still use a mini LED display," Kuo writes.

While OLED offers some advantages over Mini LED, the technology might not be an ideal candidate for productivity devices due to image retention and component lifecycle concerns. Apple is likely taking those points into consideration as it mulls an OLED future for iPad and Mac.

According to Kuo, Apple has sunk significant resources into Mini LED and will push the hardware as a key differentiator for its productivity device lineup. The specialized screens are expected to grace at least two MacBook Pro models in 2021, with MacBook Air benefitting from the technology in 2022.

Led by MacBook Pro and subsequent MacBook iterations, Apple's adoption of Mini LED will pick up steam over the next two years. Kuo forecasts display shipments to be 10 million in 2021 and between 20 million and 30 million in 2022.

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