Apple started using OLED screens in the iPhone X back in 2017, and before that, in the first Apple Watch. And the Touch Bar, of course (RIP). But it’s been slow to move away from LCD elsewhere, like its iMacs, MacBooks, standalone displays, and iPads. I want OLED on all those things, but if the iPad Pro gets it first, as rumor has it, then that’s fine by me.
There’s no product where the use of an LCD panel bothers me more than my 11-inch iPad Pro. It’s got a nice-looking screen so long as I’m looking directly at it. Go a little off-axis, though, and the screen gets way dimmer. That’s true of my laptop, too, but I’m always sitting directly in front of that screen, and almost always looking at a browser window with text in it.
Contrast isn’t an LCD’s strong suit either, and the gray-black of the letterboxing and shadows when I’m watching movies and shows bothers me more than it probably should. That doesn’t matter if I’m just reading, but if I’m playing a game — especially something like Resident Evil Village, which I’m sure will run on the next iPad Pro — or watching a movie, the added deep blacks of OLED would look nicer. And in a dark horror game, it’d be easier to spot things with the extra contrast.
OLED would mean other things, like an always-on iPad screen. That could open up a version of iPhone’s StandBy mode that turns the iPad into a true blue smart display (something that’s been rumored before), actually unlocking a niche for the iPad that it really could use.
Assuming an OLED upgrade means more than just a nice screen for the next Pro model, I’d sell my M1 iPad Pro in a heartbeat to buy it.
It sounds like I might have my wish soon. This morning, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman reiterated in the subscriber Q&A section of Power On something he’s said in the past: that Apple has a new OLED iPad Pro coming next year. And in that last update, he called it the “first major overhaul in half a decade,” in the form of an 11-inch model and a 13-inch one, and I hope that’s true because it needs it.
Ming-Chi Kuo echoed that later in the day in a Medium post that Apple will mass-produce two OLED iPads using the same LTPO tech that gives both Apple Watches and newer iPhones their 1Hz to 120Hz variable refresh rate. Kuo added they’ll outperform the Mini LED iPad Pro in “display performance and power consumption.”