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Apple has reportedly delayed the Mini-LED iPad Pro until early 2021

The 2020 iPad Pro lineup Apple introduced in mid-March may be accompanied by a superior 5G model later this year. Reports have suggested it could incorporate a series of improvements including a major display upgrade, something one analyst says has been delayed.

The complex display is causing issues

Modern iPhone and Apple Watch devices incorporate OLED screens as standard, the only exception being the newly announced iPhone SE. Every iPad model, on the other hand, features an LCD display regardless of the price.

People have called for an upgrade to OLED over the years but the company has shown little interest. The reason being that Apple plans to skip the technology in favor of the more revolutionary Mini-LED implementation it has been working on for quite some time. 

Reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said in December than an iPad Pro model with the new screen would debut this year, likely alongside the iPhone 12 series. Unfortunately, analyst Jeff Pu now believes it has been delayed until 2021 because of the “complex panel design.” 

The analyst in question failed to go into detail, but the decision could have something to do with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Apple employees are currently working from home and, although some are continuing work on prototype products, workflow efficiency has likely dropped.

With a product as important as the Mini-LED iPad Pro, which would represent arguably the biggest upgrade to the lineup since 2018, Apple has probably decided that rushing the launch isn’t work the risk.

Mini-LED could be paired with a complete redesign

These latest claims corroborate the information provided by tipster Jon Prosser almost one month ago. He said Apple is planning a 5G iPad Pro equipped with the upcoming A14X Bionic for later this year and a separate Mini-LED iPad Pro at some point in 2021.

The latter will apparently represent a complete redesign of the iPad Pro lineup, which means Apple may adopt noticeably slimmer bezels. Other changes to the rear panel are possible, although what those would entail remains unclear.

If Apple moves ahead with these plans for a redesign, the decision could pave the way for a revamped budget lineup too. That means iPad, iPad Mini, and iPad Air models that incorporate the existing iPad Pro design.

Of course, that is purely speculation at this stage.

Mini-LED iPad Pro announcement timeline

Apple typically waits around 18 months before upgrading its iPad Pro lineup. The 5G iPad Pro model coming later this year is understood to be a one-off that will sit alongside the existing iPad Pro variants launched last month.

Taking that into consideration, the earliest date for a redesigned iPad Pro complete with a Mini-LED display should be September or October 2021. However, Jeff Pu believes the tablets will actually make an appearance in “early 2021.”

That may seem odd, but Apple waited only 13 months between the second-gen and third-gen iPad Pro lineup announcements. Theoretically, this means the 2021 Mini-LED iPad Pro lineup could instead make an appearance at WWDC 2021 in June.

Anything earlier than that – a launch in March, for example – seems extremely unlike, though, because it would involve replacing the existing models after only one year and the 5G version after just six months.

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