According to the latest rumors, Apple’s search for alternative mini-LED display suppliers has slowed down after the latest certification attempt by a top candidate failed.
The 12.9 ″ iPad Pro M1 released in 2021 was the first Apple product to offer a Liquid Retina XDR display with mini-LEDs, rather than the traditional LCD or OLED alternative. Later also came the redesigned 14 ″ and 16 ″ MacBook Pro models with mini-LED displays, with more models expected to follow in 2022 with the same display technology.
Apple currently only uses two mini-LED chip vendors; the main one is Epistar based in Taiwan and the other is Ams Osram based in Germany. Epistar intends to expand its manufacturing capacity to Taiwan and China, while Ams Osram began partnering with Apple in the second half of 2021.
Chinese mini-LED chip maker Sanan Optoelectronics was supposed to be the third supplier of this component, but according to DigiTimes, the company has yet to obtain the required certification from Apple. Specifically, Apple executives have reportedly rejected the first mini-LED test components produced by Sanans, slowing down the company’s roadmap.
Since Apple requires manufacturers in its supply chain to have enough technology licenses, theirs or others, to avoid patent infringement, Sanan’s failure to achieve certification, in addition to the problems quality, is probably also related to patent issues.
However, Apple must increase production of mini-LED screens precisely in view of 2022, when new models that will exploit this technology, such as iMacs, MacBook Airs and the new iPads, are expected to arrive.