OLED panel production issues could lead Apple to unveil iPad Pro (2024) in March, ship it in April

So when will we see the new iPad Pro (2024) and iPad Air (2024) lines unveiled and released? There seems to be some controversy over this question with some calling for the unveiling and release to take place on March 26 and others, including Bloomberg’s Apple beat writer Mark Gurman, calling for a launch later in April. The only thing that both sides can agree on is that Apple will not hold an event to welcome the new tablets and will resort to pushing out a press release on its Apple Newsroom website.
But perhaps there is a middle ground. Display Supply Chain Consultants (DSCC) dropped a note that was seen by AppleInsider. In that note, DSCC said that the tablets could still be unveiled in late March or early April, but thanks to issues Apple is currently experiencing procuring displays from its suppliers, shipments to customers won’t take place until later in April.

Here’s what is happening. Initially, Samsung Display and LG Display were going to share the task of producing 11.1-inch OLED panels for the iPad Pro. LG Display would supply the 12.9-inch OLED panels for Apple’s top-of-the-line tablet. However, due to high prices, Samsung Display would be the only supplier of the 11.1-inch OLED display. Causing the price to soar, the 11.1-inch OLED panels were the first for a tablet to include low-temperature polycrystalline oxide (LTPO) technology for a dynamic refresh rate. 

Other design options such as tandem stacks, and glass thinning reduced the yield which also hiked the cost of production. DSCC’s latest survey shows that LG Display is supplying Apple with 11.1-inch OLED panels while Samsung is not able to supply Apple with the required amount of 12.9-inch OLED panels.

April production of the 12.9-inch screens is expected to be 22% higher than the numbers for March; forecast production of the 11.1-inch screens should have been double what is expected. Thus, both Samsung Display and LG Display will need to sharply increase production of their 11.1-inch panels so that Apple will be able to meet demand for the smaller variant of the iPad Pro (2024); the line will be the first iPads in history equipped with OLED screens.

The higher prices for OLED displays have forced Apple to add a second 12.9-inch iPad Air model in case consumers want a large tablet but don’t want to pay what could be a stunningly large price for the 12,.9-inch OLED iPad Pro model. DSCC, which has an outstanding track record when it comes to display-related rumors, says that the LCD displays for the 12.9-inch iPad Air started shipping in December.

Considering DSCC’s history, we’d say that there is a very good chance that the iPad Air (2024) series will include a version with a 10.9-inch LCD screen and a new larger model sporting a 12.9-inch LCD display despite one leaker shouting from the rooftop this past week that such a variant doesn’t exist.

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