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Next 12.9-inch iPad Pro will be downgrade, says extremely unlikely report

Apple's iPad Pro

A supply chain source is contradicting its own reporting, and making the incredibly questionable claim that the new 12.9-inch iPad Pro will go back to LCD backlighting, instead of the mini LED it added in 2021.

The next iPad Pro is expected to launch in 2024, and previously it's been rumored that either with this generation or another one later in that year, Apple will add an updated OLED display. Now Digitimes says no, the next model will step back to the LCD backlit panels it had three years ago.

"Industry sources have revealed that Apple is rolling out new iPad Pro models," says the publication, "and both the new 12.9-inch iPad Pro model and the new iPad Air are designed with traditional LCD backlights, rather than the mini-LEDs Apple introduced to its premium 12-9-inch [model]."

It doesn't sound like Apple to revert years to a previous technology. It also doesn't sound like there's a way to make that sound like a benefit when it's selling the new iPad Pro to customers.

There is the fact that the older technology would inevitably be cheaper to produce, but Apple isn't known for passing on savings to customers. So it's not probable that such an iPad Pro would be sold for less, and if it isn't, Apple will struggle to sell the new model as an upgrade.

The tablet market does appear to be shrinking, so it could make sense for Apple to make a cheaper iPad Pro. Except, all reports that say tablet sales are down also say that the iPad is doing the best of all of them.

What appears to be more probable is that Digitimes is conflating the iPad Pro with the recently rumored 12.9-inch iPad Air. Given that the only benefit to putting back LCD lighting in the 12.9-inch iPad Pro is that it would let Apple reduce the cost, it would also presumably then be narrowing the price difference between this and any new 12.9-inch iPad Air.

Plus, that recent rumor about a larger iPad Air came from Digitimes.

More, the first report of that rumor in Digitimes was on October 19, 2023, in a teaser for a fuller report coming out on October 20, 2023. Unless there is another Digitimes report about the iPad Air, it seems the teaser was referring to this one.

Digitimes does have a strong track record for its supply chain sources, but a significantly poorer one for the conclusions it draws about Apple's plans. And now seemingly also a poor one for reading its own articles.