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How Apple built the new iPad Pro's Liquid Retina XDR display | Engadget

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Vincent Gu
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iPad Pro

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To learn a little more about what it took to build the Liquid Retina XDR screen, Engadget spoke to Vincent Gu, a senior engineering manager for Apple displays, and iPad marketing spokesperson Scott Broderick, who was quick to claim it is "the absolute best display we could put in the 12.9-inch iPad Pro,” Broderick said. For what it’s worth, though, Apple insists that its own mini-LED backlighting system was designed completely in-house.“The mini LEDs we put into Liquid Retina XDR is a truly custom-designed, Apple-proprietary technology,” said Gu, who noted that they were more than a hundred times smaller than those used in last year’s iPad Pro. To no one’s surprise, carefully arranging those thousands of LEDs was a crucial hurdle, one Apple only managed to clear thanks to engineers who custom-designed manufacturing equipment and created their own special solder.“We had to deliver specific equipment to be able to put these over 10,000 mini LEDs into place with such precision that didn’t exist prior to us,” said iPad spokesperson Broderick. (For what it's worth, Broderick and Gu wouldn't confirm whether Apple had contemplated using OLED panels in the iPad Pro)As far as technical achievements go, building the Liquid Retina XDR display was no small feat. And in case you were thinking that just might be a symptom of pandemic-era hardware production, it’s worth noting that supplies for the 11-inch iPad Pro without the Liquid Retina XDR display seem considerably less constrained — a base model ordered today would likely be delivered in the first week of June according to Apple.Reports published by Bloomberg and Nikkei prior to the iPad Pro’s launch suggested that supplies of the larger, mini-LED-equipped model were limited because of a shortage of displays and components stemming from poor yields from manufacturers.“For a company that takes pride in its supply chain expertise, such wait times are a rarity,” Bloomberg’s latest report notes.

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