What is Tandem OLED? The OLED panel in Apple’s iPad Pro

We can’t say we’ve ever heard of Tandem OLED but we (and you) will be hearing more about it with the news that Apple’s latest iPad Pro features the panel technology.

There were rumours back in 2023 that Apple was going to launch a device with a Tandem OLED, replacing the Mini LED display that featured in the previous iPad model.

What is Tandem OLED? Read on to find out.

What is Tandem OLED?

In short, a Tandem OLED panel is one that stacks multiple OLED screens on top of one another.

Apple has done this with its new iPad Pro and branded it as its Ultra XDR Retina Display. As Apple describes it, the Ultra XDR Retina Display uses two OLED panels and combines the light from both to boost the full-screen brightness.

The levels of luminance (or brightness) we referring to appear to be massively bright for a portable device. The new iPad Pro is claimed to be able offer 1000 nits of full-screen brightness for both SDR and HDR content, able to hit a peak brightness of 1600 nits for HDR content.

And with OLED’s perfect blacks and infinity contrast, that should make for quite the striking appearance on an OLED screen. Plus, Apple says that the Tandem OLED technology “enables sub-millisecond control over the colour and luminance of each pixel”, which as we understand it, should allow for the screen to react in a more responsive and fluid handling of motion.

iPad Pro 2024 Specs
credit: Apple

Specular highlights are described as brighter than they were on previous iPad Pros, while Apple also says you’ll be able to see more detail in the shadows and low light areas than was possible.

There’s no mention of burn-in or image retention solutions in Apple’s press release, but from what we can scramble together online, a two stack OLED panel is designed to last for longer.

With the Tandem OLED panel structure, the iPad Pro should be able to deliver the black levels without blooming that OLED is known for, with a level of brightness that’s in the same area as Mini LED, along with a fluid motion that we’d imagine make this a good screen for gaming on too.

We aren’t too sure on who is supplying the glass (i.e. the panel) for the new iPad Pro, but it has been reported that both LG Display and Samsung Display have developed their own Tandem OLED screens to compete for supply for Apple’s future iPads.

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