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Apple IPad Pro MiniLED Backlight Teardown

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System Plus Consulting's in-depth analysis of how Apple balanced cost and performance

The reverse engineering and costing company, System Plus Consulting, has done an in-depth analysis of the miniLEDs and their assembly in Apple's 12.9-inch iPad Pro display's backlight unit.

“With this newest iPad Pro, Apple is really bringing this newer display technology to the consumer”, comments Youssef El Gmili, director, Laboratory Department at System Plus Consulting. “As many different supply chain and technology choices are not settled yet, this System Plus Consulting teardown report provides great insights into the choices Apple is bringing to the table.”

The new backlighting system is composed of 10,384 miniLEDs divided into 2,596 local dimming zones. The miniLEDs, which are GaN-based dies on patterned sapphire substrate, have an engineered light-emission pattern using dedicated top and back dielectric reflectors.

“At System Plus Consulting, we think that they are manufactured by Epistar in Taiwan”, says Taha Ayari. This foundry has been created in 2017 in Taiwan. Its capacity is mainly focused on discrete LEDs, on 100mm wafer size.

COB assembly of the more than 10,000 miniLEDS is believed to be done by TSMT in Taiwan.

The miniLEDs are mounted in flip-chip configuration. The miniLEDS are driven by nine drivers from STMicroelectronics. These drivers are wafer-level chip-scale packaged. System Plus Consulting's latest report also delivers a detailed cost analysis of the drivers. Youssef El Gmili confirms: “The main part of the backlight unit cost is due to the mini-LEDs at 37 percent.”

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