Apple's supply chain has started to expand production of touch panels, a report claims, all in preparation for the OLED refresh of two iPad Pro models in early 2024.
Apple is expected to be bringing out an overhauled iPad Pro in the opening months of 2024, with OLED displays being the key change for the generation. To prepare for raised OLED panel production, the supply chain is already bracing itself by expanding production capacity for new 11-inch and 13-inch iPad Pros.
According to a Tuesday DigiTimes report, supply chain sources claim the OLED screens will use hybrid panels, which use both rigid and flexible materials in its construction. Such a display panel could enable a thinner design, which could also be lighter than existing counterparts.
There is also the claim that Apple wants to reduce the fairly slim bezel of the iPad Pro even further, though it may not necessarily be able to do so in the next iteration.
While Apple wants to move to OLED, the current mini LED-based displays will still be produced for a while. It is reported that suppliers will probably cease shipments of the current-gen iPad Pro using the technology by the summer of 2024.
A long time coming
OLED for the iPad Pro has been rumored for a few years, with rumors going back to 2020 and beyond discussing the possibility of using it. However, the technology simply didn't get employed by Apple in the following years.
Apple did opt to use a mini LED backlit display for the 2021 iPad Pro. As a technology it has invested in for quite some time, it offered cost and practicality benefits to Apple while it could fully nail down its OLED plans.
Since that model's introduction, the rumors of OLED have persisted, with various component producers within Apple's supply chain ecosystem expected to make the panels at different times.
Whether Apple actually releases an OLED iPad in the early months of 2024 remain to be seen, but with the sheer quantity of rumors on the topic, it seems quite probable that the display technology will arrive on Apple's tablet this time around.