Sure, the new 12.9-inch iPad Pro has a fancy M1 processor, but its new Mini-LED display is the real star of the show. A teardown video from iFixit gives us a close look at the impressive new Liquid Retina XDR Display technology, plus a quick lesson explaining how LED backlights work (and why the iPad Pro’s new display looks so beautiful).
As with older models, prying open the new 12.9-inch iPad Pro takes a gentle hand and a bit of heat. Apple didn’t change the iPad Pro’s interior layout all that much, despite the upgraded M1 chip and new ultra-wide, AI-powered selfie camera.
But the new Mini-LED display (Apple calls it Retina XDR) marks a big shift from the company’s Liquid Retina panels. While other iPads are backlit by a single row of LEDs, the new 12.9-inch iPad Pro features 10,384 LED backlights split into 2,596 dimming zones. These incredibly small LEDs can adjust their brightness to match on-screen content, providing the deep blacks and high contrast that are usually associated with OLED panels.
So why is Apple using Mini-LED instead of OLED? Simply put, LCD panels are still brighter than OLED panels, and they’re much less susceptible to burn-in. A bright display ensures that iPad Pro users can watch YouTube videos or write novels outside during the middle of the day—a task that’s helped by the new iPad Pro’s 5G capabilities.
For more info on the iPad Pro’s new display, go check out iFixit’s teardown video! You can also buy an iFixit Pro Tech Toolkit to pull apart or repair a new iPad Pro at home (who knows, you might discover something interesting).