The Elec is the latest publication to claim that Apple is readying iPad models with organic LED displays (OLED) for as soon as next year. Reliable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo first raised the idea in March.
The Elec claims that Apple will launch an OLED iPad with a 10.86-inch screen in 2022, most likely branded as an iPad Air as the current iPad Air already features that exact same screen size. The company is also said to be preparing 11-inch and 12.9-inch OLED iPads for 2023, which would most naturally be iPad Pro models.
The report claims that Apple would use rigid OLED for the iPad Air, whereas the future iPad Pro models would take advantage of flexible OLED structures.
Flexible OLED enables even thinner screen bezels as the display components can be internally curved. Apple has used this technique in the iPhone since 2017, with the introduction of the iPhone X.
The move to OLED is interesting and somewhat counterintuitive, given that Apple has only just released an iPad Pro with mini-LED display technology. However, OLED is superior to mini-LED in the fact that each pixel is individually lit. mini-LED relies on larger regions of dimming zones which can cause backlighting halo effects for certain types of content. That being said, the downside of OLED is that it has poor off-angle performance and is prone to burn-in. mini-LED panels can generally reach a higher maximum brightness than OLED as well.
It is somewhat uncharacteristic of Apple to release new hardware, in this case the 2021 iPad Pro, with a significantly new screen technology only to radically change that up again within two years. However, so many supply chain publications are reporting this is on the roadmap, it is seemingly going to happen.
To confuse matters further, Bloomberg has reported that Apple will be radically overhauling the iPad Pro’s external chassis next year. The iPad Pro design is said to be swapping aluminium for glass as the rear case material, enabling inductive wireless charging for the first time.