2021 MacBook Pros Expected to Get Apple’s Pro Display Tech
Apple’s 2021 16-inch MacBook Pro is expected to introduce new display technology and an update that will bring the same M1 processor that was introduced on the company’s MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro laptops. According to a recently published supply chain report, the 16-inch model is said to have mini-LED backlighting that could help improve color accuracy, contrast, and brightness, making the notebook a versatile mobile workstation for creative workflows can be.
Not to be confused with the micro-LED technology that has been rumored for future models of the Apple Watch. Mini-LED is a backlight technology that works with current Apple MacBook line of liquid crystal displays.
Apple could potentially use a lot more mini-LEDs to illuminate different areas of the display. While Apple hasn’t confirmed it will come with the much-anticipated 16-inch MacBook Pro update for 2021, speculation about the new backlight technology has already been confirmed in an earlier report by well-known Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Kuo speculated that Apple will switch to mini-LED backlights on MacBooks in early 2021.
According to 9to5 Mac, up to 10,000 of the smaller mini-LEDs can be attached to the 16-inch panel, which means that the MacBook’s display can achieve a more even and more uniform brightness over the entire display.
If all of this sounds familiar, it’s because Apple was trying to bring professional displays to the market with smaller LEDs. According to Apple, the extremely expensive Pro Display XDR uses a “2D backlighting system with 576 local dimming zones with a full array”, although the company has not explicitly stated whether its monitor is micro-LED, mini-LED or other LCD backlight technology are located .
The backlighting system of the Pro Display XDR enabled the IPS LCD panel with oxide TFT technology to achieve a peak brightness of 1,600 nits and a contrast ratio of 1,000,000: 1, according to Apple. To control the 20.4 million LCD pixels and 576 LEDs in the background, Apple developed its own timing control called TCON to keep the display in sync.
If Apple moves to mini-LED for the 16-inch MacBook Pro, the TCON silicon will likely show up alongside Apple’s custom M1 processor in some form.
The ProDisplay XDR relied on Apple’s “cheese grater” design on the back to passively cool the panel, eliminating the need for loud fans inside. It’s unclear if, in using so many mini-LEDs on a laptop, Apple will need to make design changes to allow for better passive or active cooling. Kuo assumes that mini-LED technology will also be carried over to Apple’s iPads.
While creatives are likely to rave about screen accuracy when working on design projects, another benefit of lighting individual zones on a display is even better battery life. For comparison: Apple’s M1-powered MacBook Pro 13-inch is designed for a battery life of 20 hours or “the longest of all Macs,” according to the company.