Kuo: Two redesigned MacBook Pros with mini LED coming in 2021, more affordable MacBook Air in 2022

Reliable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo is out with a new investor note today in which he focuses on Apple’s planned transition to mini LED display technology, as well as the possibility that Apple will release “2 or 3 new chargers in 2021.” Kuo reports today that the mini LED transition will happen faster than initially expected.

First, Kuo significantly revises his forecast for shipments of Apple devices with mini LED display technology. Kuo had previously reported that Apple would ship 2 million to 3 million units in 2021 and 4 million to 5 million units in 2022. Now, Kuo says that Apple will ship between 10 million and 12 million units in 2021, followed by 25 million to 28 million units in 2021.

Kuo gives two reasons for this increase:

  1. the cost improvement in the next two years will be better than expected
  2. the adoption rate of mini LED panels in MacBook will be better than expected

Kuo says that Apple will have two new MacBook Pros with an all-new form factor design in 2021, and both of these will feature mini LED panels. Apple will also introduce a “more affordable new MacBook Air” in 2022 that features mini LED as well.

The analyst says that the MacBook lineup will be the primary driver of mini LED panel shipments because “MacBook’s mini LED adoption rate and shipment growth are both superior to iPad.” Kuo predicts that “MacBook shipments will grow significantly by about 100% to 30–35 million units per year within three years thanks to the adoption of Apple Silicon and the all-new form factor design.”

“Because the cost of Apple Silicon is significantly lower than that of Intel CPU, the use of Apple Silicon can offset the increased cost of using mini LED panels,” Kuo explains.

As a refresher, mini LED is a new form of backlighting that is used for LCD screens. It offers many of the same benefits as OLED, but oftentimes can offer increased brightness, improved power efficiency, and a lower risk of burn-in.

A report last month said that Apple would start the mini LED transition in Q1 2021. Ming-Chi Kuo has also previously predicted that the iPad Pro would be the first Apple product to use mini LED displays, and the transition could perhaps start with the 12.9-inch model, followed eventually by the 11-inch model. Today’s report does not get into more specific timelines other than sometime in 2021.

Finally, Kuo writes that Apple will likely launch “2 or 3 new chargers in 2021.” It’s unclear what exactly this means, but it could mean more powerful wall chargers with faster charging using GaN technology. It could also relate to the continued expansion of the MagSafe line of accessories.

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