An important part of the Apple production chain has given weight to the long-standing rumors about a 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro. Announced at Apple’s Spring Loaded event, the M1 iPad Pro is expected to have limited availability due to issues with making mini-LEDs. This issue has reportedly been fixed by a major third party.
Taiwan surface mount Technology (TSMT) previously had technical issues with assembling mini-LED backlights and circuit boards, which could explain the expected low availability of the warehouse for the iPad Pro launch.
TSMT has since announced that the issues have been resolved and that production yields for “the two upcoming MacBook models with mini-LED backlights” have successfully increased by more than 95%. According to Digitimes, TSMT is the exclusive supplier of mini-LED backlighting, which is not only used in the 12.9-inch M1 iPad Pro, but also “for the two upcoming MacBook models with mini-LED backlighting”.
The 16-inch MacBook Pro, one of Apple’s best-selling products, has been waiting around two years for an update after its last major redesign in 2019. It’s likely that these two MacBook Pro models will be upgraded with Apple’s own silicon instead, 11th generation Intel processors, but the startup delay has given way to rumors that a more powerful M1X chip will fit both 14-inch and 14-inch 16 inch pro devices might be in sight.
While these are just rumors, it actually makes a lot of sense – the current M1 chip, despite its well-deserved praise for industry professionals like video editors and VFX artists, just isn’t performing well enough. Blender and 4k processing require higher multi-core CPU performance than the M1 chip can currently offer.
Adding mini-LED would also bring great benefits to artists and those working in graphically demanding careers, and the evidence and rumors add a lot of weight to what we can expect from the newly launched MacBook Pro models, but it is important not to get lost in the sauce. We just won’t know for sure until Apple makes an official announcement, which we currently estimate for late 2021.