Confirming months of rumors and speculation, Apple finally launched a new iPad Pro with two rather significant changes. Its shift to an Apple M1 chip further blurs the boundaries between iPad Pro and MacBooks but it is really the switch to a Mini LED screen that has some people talking. It’s not all in good ways, though, as some don’t seem to be convinced of the end results of the more expensive technology. On a purely technical aspect, however, iFixit’s initial teardown assessment of the 12.9-inch M1 iPad Pro proves to be at least more interesting.
When it comes to backlighting, the Mini LED display that comes under the marketing name “XDR Display” is very significant. It still uses LCDs on top so there are still some missing benefits compared to OLED technology. That said, compared to the backlighting that Apple used on iPads before, the Mini LED screen is a huge upgrade.
iFixit gives a refresher course on the technology and, in a nutshell, the panel now employs thousands of such mini LEDs behind the screen to provide lighting. More than just intense brightness, however, it also means that each of those mini LEDs can be individually controlled to sync with what’s being displayed on the screen on top.
While the technology may be cool, the teardown process hasn’t changed in any way. Technicians and service providers still need to use heat, coaxing, and patience to take out the screen, which also remains a risky process. That process, unfortunately, is the necessary first step to repair or replace anything inside.
iFixit also notes that very few components have changed inside the M1 iPad Pro, at least aside from the expected 5G antenna, M1 chip, and the new wide-angle front camera. The DIY repair experts have still to publish their full teardown guide and evaluation but, at least from this initial feedback, it isn’t going to be that impressive.