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MiniLED die - SEM Tilted View - System Plus Consulting

MiniLED Backlight Unit in the 2021 Apple iPad Pro

Product code
EUR 6990
Mobile & Consumer
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In-depth technical and cost analysis of the first consumer miniLED backlight unit and its assembly.

MiniLED die - SEM Tilted View - System Plus Consulting

After more than three years of hype, excitement, and unfulfilled promises, miniLED backlights are finally ready for prime time. MiniLED monitors and laptops have been available since late 2020 and most leading TV brands are adopting miniLED backlights in their 2021 flagship models. The highly anticipated miniLED Apple iPad pro was officially announced in April 2021.

Properly designed miniLED backlights allow LCD displays to reach contrast performance close to that of OLEDs, while maintaining the high brightness characteristics of LCDs. All of this while offering reduced power consumption, a very thin form factor (thickness), and cost/price competitiveness with OLED. With this newest iPad Pro, Apple is really bringing this newer display technology to the consumer. 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.

In this report, System Plus Consulting provides a full reverse costing study of the miniLEDs and their assembly in the backlight unit of the display in the 12.9-inch 2021 iPad Pro.

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. We estimate that they are manufactured by Epistar in Taiwan.
  • The chip-on-board 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.

This report provides insights regarding technology data, manufacturing cost, and selling price of the BLU, with a focus on the miniLEDs and their drivers. Also included is an estimated manufacturing cost of all the BLU’s components and a selling price analysis.

MiniLED die cross-section – SEM View - System Plus Consulting Patterned Sapphire Substrate - SEM View - System Plus Consulting Patterned Sapphire Substrate - SEM View - System Plus Consulting
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  • Executive Summary
  • Reverse Costing Methodology
  • Glossary

Company Profile 

  • Apple
  • Supply Chain

Teardown Analysis

  • iPad Overview
  • iPad Opening

Physical Analysis 

  • Backlight Unit
  • MiniLED
    • Die overview
    • Die cross-section
  • MiniLED Driver
    • View and dimensions
    • Delayering and main blocs
    • Die process

Manufacturing Process Flow

  • MiniLED Front-End Fab Unit
  • MiniLED Front-End Process

Cost Analysis

  • Supply Chain
  • Yield Hypothesis
  • MiniLED Cost
    • LED front-end cost
    • LED die probe test and dicing
    • LED wafer and cost
  • MiniLED Driver Cost
    • Front-end cost
    • Probe test, thinning and dicing
    • Die cost
  • Backlight Unit Cost
    • Complete unit cost
    • Complete unit price
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