It’s been rumored for several years that Apple is thinking about switching its iPad Pro tablets to OLED display technology, and the latest report from the supply chain says the first of these updated devices are due to arrive in 2024.
This is from ET News (opens in new tab) in South Korea (via MacRumors (opens in new tab)), which claims that development is now underway on an iPad with an OLED screen. The display departments at Samsung and LG are apparently in line to provide the panels.
The current iPad Pro models feature mini-LED LCD technology: while this has a slightly higher ceiling in terms of maximum brightness when compared with OLED, OLED can’t be beaten in terms of contrast and the deepness of its blacks.
According to the report, the screen sizes of 11 inches and 12.9 inches are going to remain the same as Apple makes the switch, so in terms of the dimensions and the form factors of the iPad Pro there won’t be any obvious difference.
Apple has used OLED technology on its iPhones for several years now, but it’s more difficult and more costly to produce the panels at larger sizes – so keep an eye on any variations in price when it comes to the 2024 iPad Pros.
Previous leaks had also put the launch date of an iPad Pro at some point in 2024, so this matches up with that. OLED technology is also being worked on for Apple’s MacBook line, the report says, with the switch scheduled for 2026.
Analysis: room for improvement
Apple refreshed its premium tablet line again last year, and in our iPad Pro review we gave the device an almost perfect score. It’s an impressive piece of hardware from just about every angle, and it’s hard to see how Apple is going to improve on it in the future.
Faster internals are always expected every time we get a new iPad, but it could be argued that the iPad Pros have so much power that the average user is never going to push them to anywhere near their limit.
Software updates are always pushed out regularly too, with iPadOS 16.1 adding the Stage Manager tool. These updates are separate to the hardware considerations though, and appear on all kinds of iPads, new and old.
It would seem that Apple has decided that OLED technology is one upgrade that it can invest in for the iPad Pros, and perhaps eventually the standard iPad as well. Once that switch is made, there really might not be anything else to improve.