Now that the transition to Apple Silicon is well underway, it seems like Apple could be gearing up for a rapid shift to mini-LED displays too.
Mini-LEDs are an upgrade on current LED backlighting in displays. The gist is they’re a fifth of the size of regular LEDs used in LCD panels, which in turn makes backlighting more precise. The results can be brighter than OLED displays, with similar color quality but for less money. The news comes from Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo (via 9to5 Mac), who has a pretty good track record of calling what’s on deck for Apple products. Earlier this year, Kuo forecasted that six future Apple gadgets would feature mini LED displays, with four of them coming in 2021. He also estimated that Apple would ship 2 to 3 million mini-LED units in 2021, and 4 to 5 million in 2022.
Now, Kuo is saying he expects that number to be much, much higher, with 10 to 12 million units shipping in 2021 and 25 to 28 million in 2022. Yowza.
According to Kuo, we can expect to see two MacBook Pros with mini-LEDs next year, along with a “more affordable” MacBook Air in 2022 that also has a mini-LED display. On top of that, there’s expected to a totally new design for the MacBook Pro next year. Cool, and potentially a good reason to cool your jets on buying a first generation Apple silicone MacBook Pro, but that’s not why Kuo decided to dramatically increase his forecast.
On that front, Kuo’s citing a better-than-expected adoption rate of MacBooks and lower-than-expected costs. The analyst says not only is the MacBook selling better than the iPad, but that Apple Silicon is significantly cheaper than using Intel processors. Meaning, Apple can add mini-LEDs more quickly because their increased cost is offset by savings from switching to Apple Silicon.
While Kuo explicitly says a “more affordable” MacBook Air is supposedly on the way, it’s unclear whether these cost savings will translate to cheaper MacBooks, too. Knowing Apple, probably not. Still, at the very least it might mean that adding mini-LEDs won’t make MacBook Pros even more expensive than they already are.
The other tidbit Kuo dropped is somewhat baffling. On top of mini-LEDs, Apple will also likely launch two or three more chargers next year. What? More...chargers? Is dongle mania coming back? (Did it ever really go away?) Perhaps that means faster, more powerful charging or, perhaps, MagSafe making a comeback for MacBooks as well. It’s not exactly clear what Kuo meant, but seeing as 2021 is just a few weeks away, we might not have to wait terribly long to find out.