Apple's top-end iPad Pro 2021 faces Mini-LED supply issues

And where is Apple's usual spring event for new iPad models?
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

Apple is facing production issues with its latest top-end iPad Pro that could mean supplies will be limited, according to Bloomberg. 

If you were hoping to upgrade your iPad selection this month, you might be disappointed to hear that the new 12.9-inch iPad Pro might not be on shelves this month as many had expected.

According to Bloomberg, Apple still plans to unveil the iPad Pro in the second half of April, but it's possible there might not be many of them available to purchase. 

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One of the key features of the 2021 iPad Pro is its Mini-LED display, which uses smaller LEDs to form the backlight. Reduced LED size allows for a denser lighting system behind the LCD, leading to improved brightness and contrast ratio. LG and Samsung have recently released TV displays using Mini-LED technology for so-called 8K displays.

Apple is tipped to be using Mini-LED technology in the upcoming models, but Bloomberg's sources say the company's suppliers are struggling with manufacturing yields.

A delay would be disappointing to iPad fans hoping to upgrade. As ZDNet's David Gewirtz recently explained, January and February are not the months to buy a new iPad because Apple historically has announced new iPad models at its 'spring' event around March. So it's better to hold off for the new product or you may end up paying the same price for a product that just became outdated by one generation.

But March has come and gone and as at April 12, there's no sign from Apple that it is holding an event this month either. 

Apple-focused news site MacRumors reckons Apple will launch new iPad models in April, but it's not clear whether there will be an event. 

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Bloomberg notes that Apple plans to announce new iPad Pro tablets in two sizes, but that the Mini-LED screen will be for the top-end 12.9-inch model.

"The production hiccup could mean that the larger iPad Pro will ship later and be available in constrained quantities to begin with," Bloomberg notes. 

The pandemic has been good for Apple's iPad sales. According to to analyst firm Canalys, Apple shipped 19.4 million units in Q4 2020, up 40% year on year. Chromebooks performed even better, with shipments reaching 11.2 million units in the quarter, marking a 287% increase compared to the same quarter a year ago.

The new iPad Pro is expected to come with Apple's Arm-based A14X system on chip that's believed to be on par with the performance of Apple's Arm-based M1 chip used in the late-2020 MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro.

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