Ming-Chi Kuo: Apple to Launch Mini-LED iPad and AirPods 3 in First Half of 2021

Ming-Chi Kuo: Apple to Launch Mini-LED iPad and AirPods 3 in First Half of 2021

Apple is aiming to release a mini-LED display iPad and new AirPods 3 sporting a design signature similar to AirPods Pro, says Apple industry analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.

In a research note to investors, shared by MacRumors, Kuo’s predictions came as part of a discussion about Chinese manufacturer Jialianyi, who is expected to become a key supply chain partner for Apple, thanks to the firm’s flexible soft board technology.

Jialianyi’s LCP (liquid crystal polymer) soft boards are said to offer a flexible way to connect components together while enabling high-speed, low-latency data transfer. The company is expected to receive orders for acoustic and optical components in soft boards for use for a mini-LED ‌iPad. Kuo expects the new iPad to be mass-produced in the first half of 2021.

While Kuo did not specifically state which iPad will hit shelves in 2021, but he has previously predicted six mini-LED products he says Apple has in the pipeline. Products include a 12.9-inch ‌iPad Pro‌, a 27-inch iMac Pro, a 14.1-inch MacBook Pro, a 16-inch ‌MacBook Pro‌, a 10.2.-inch ‌‌iPad‌‌, and a 7.9-inch ‌‌‌iPad‌‌‌ mini.

mini-LED display technology uses individual LEDs that offer an improvement over traditional LED-backlit displays, with performance comparable to OLED displays. The new display technology can offer deeper, darker blacks, brighter brights, richer colors, and better contrast. Unfortunately, the technology is currently more expensive.

As for AirPods 3, Kuo’s note reiterates Kuo’s previous assertion that Apple is working on third-generation AirPods that will begin mass-production during the first half of 2021.

The AirPods 3 would use SiP technology to integrate the earbuds’ audio features into the smaller casing. AirPods Pro, introduced in November 2019, feature an in-ear design that offers three different sizes of soft, silicone tips in the box, and features shorter stems below the ear. They also offer several other improvements over the original AirPods, such as active noise cancellation, improved sound quality, and sweat/water resistance.

Kup expects current-generation AirPods Pro part suppliers to see component shipments grow an estimated 50% to 100% year-over-year. Kuo says Jialianyi will obtain component orders for the ‌AirPods‌ 3, which is expected to significantly contribute to the supplier’s revenue and profit from the second quarter of 2020.

The second-generation AirPods are expected to cease production when the new model debuts.

Kuo also notes that Apple intends to expand its use of soft board technology in next year’s “iPhone 13.” The move is expected to save space and manufacturing costs. Jialianyi is also projected to benefit from the wider adoption.