Considering how much they cost - the cheapest 11in model is £769/$799 - it's been mildly surprising that Apple's iPad Pros don't have the same OLED screens as the company's premium iPhones.
In part this is a reflection of the different requirements and expectations of the tablet and smartphone markets, not to mention the expense of supplying OLED panels in such large sizes, but such things are not unheard of: Samsung managed to squeeze an AMOLED into the Galaxy Tab S6, for instance, while the Lenovo Tab P11 Pro has an 11.5in OLED screen. At any rate, Apple fans have not been quiet in their desire for OLED to make its way to the iPad in the near future.
Unfortunately for those people, that future appears to be stubbornly distant, with analysts currently predicting OLED will arrive on the iPad in the year 2022. And even that is an improvement on recent speculation, which suggested only that the range would be upgraded to Mini-LED in 2021. The last set of Pro launches happened in March 2020, so the same month in 2021 would be a fair bet.
We're now hearing from Korean media - which cites unnamed officials - that Mini-LED is a one-year stopgap rather than a long-term plan, and that Samsung has been approached to supply OLED panels in 2022, with LG to join the project the following year.
Sources say Apple will source hybrid OLED panels from its suppliers. By combining elements of flexible and rigid OLED technologies, hybrid panels are thinner than conventional OLED.
OLED itself offers a raft of advantages over LCD, which Apple currently uses for its iPads. It produces more vibrant colours, improved contrasts, and deep blacks; it's also thinner, more flexible and, crucially, more power-efficient. But some companies continue to prefer LCD because it's cheaper to manufacture. (OLED can also suffer from screen burn-in, although this is a relatively rare problem.)
Mini-LED, as Apple's roadmap would imply, can be viewed as a compromise between LCD and OLED. It's still an LCD system, but by using thousands of tiny light sources it offers far better local dimming and consequently deep blacks that can at least challenge OLED.
Both Samsung and LG have declined to comment on the rumours, stating that they cannot disclose information related to clients and client orders.
Keep abreast pf the latest developments in our new iPad Pro rumours hub. And if you can't wait until spring for the upgraded iPad Pro, check out bargains on the current models in our roundup of the best iPad deals.