As Apple’s upcoming release of products featuring Mini LED backlight generates a growth in Mini LED demand, the company has also stimulated actors in the Mini LED supply chain to increase their production capacities. According to the latest investigations by the LEDinside research division of TrendForce, in 1Q21 Apple is expected to not only release its 12.9-inch, Mini LED backlight-equipped iPad Pro, but also open contract bids for its 14-inch and 16-inch MacBooks. Apple has currently chosen Taiwanese manufacturers of display-related components to supply its Mini LED backlights, since Taiwanese suppliers have an advantage in new product development given their superior product stability and technological maturity. Both upstream and downstream suppliers are expected to participate in the Mini LED supply chain, including LED chip manufacturer Epistar, testing and sorting providers FitTech and Saultech, SMT supplier TSMT, and PCB backplane manufacturer Zhen Ding Tech – all of which serve important roles in the development of new Mini LED backlight displays.
On June 18, 2020, Taiwan-based LED manufacturers Epistar and Lextar announced their plan to jointly establish a holding company through share conversion. TrendForce’s LEDinside research division offers its insight regarding the two companies’ partnership.
According to the latest investigations by TrendForce, despite the slight slowdown in wearables shipment (including smartwatches and smart wristbands), the increasing demand for improved health monitoring functions has galvanized a strong momentum in the market for wearables-related components. For instance, to raise the accuracy of health monitoring functions, wearables manufacturers are projected to utilize more green LEDs and infrared LEDs while also increasing the size of photodiodes, in turn doubling the demand for PPG.
Apple has sparked considerable discussions in the market after rumors surfaced that the company’s new 12.9-inch iPad Pro, to be released in 2021, may be equipped with Mini LED backlight technology. According to the newest investigations by the LEDinside research division of TrendForce, the manufacturing cost of Mini LED backlight displays is currently higher than that of traditional LCD and OLED displays. However, as manufacturers continue to make improvements in process technology and yield rate, the cost of Mini LED backlight displays is expected to undergo 15-20% YoY decreases and to potentially be lower than the cost of OLED displays by 2022, making Mini LED a cost-competitive option in the market. Not only will Apple integrate Mini LED backlight technology into its product lineups other than the iPad Pro, but other leading brands will also adopt Mini LED for their own products.
According to the latest investigations by the LEDinside research division of TrendForce, owing to the continued shrinking of pixel pitches, LED shipment for video wall is expected to undergo further growth in 2020. Although the current yearly revenue forecast has been revised from the pre-pandemic figure of US$2.261 billion down to US$1.946 billion, it still represents a 3.7% YoY growth.