Coronavirus won't affect development of Apple's next-generation iPads and MacBooks, top analyst says

Key Points
  • A top analyst predicts that Apple will release six products using mini LED screen technology by the end of 2021, including iPads, desktop computers and laptop computers. 
  • He also says that research and development of the mini LED technology has not been affected by the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak. 
Apple's 16-inch MacBook Pro
Todd Haselton | CNBC

Research and development for next-generation Apple products using a new display technology called mini LED are unaffected by the outbreak of the COVID-19 coronavirus, according to TF Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.

Kuo predicts that Apple will launch several new products using the Mini LED technology starting later this year with six products hitting the market before the end of 2021.

"We predict that Apple is currently developing six mini-LED-support products," Kuo wrote in the note dated March 4. "Including a 12.9-inch iPad Pro, a 27-inch iMac Pro in 4Q20, a 14.1-inch MacBook Pro (upgraded from 13.3- inch), a 16-inch MacBook Pro, a 10.2-inch iPad, and a 7.9-inch iPad mini in 2020."

Mini LED has some benefits over the LCD and OLED screens currently used on most gadgets. They can offer high contrast and are less prone to "burn-in," which is when an image is permanently displayed on a malfunctioning screen.

Kuo is well-known for publishing research about unreleased Apple products focused on the companies that make up Apple's supply chain. The note published on Tuesday focuses on suppliers for Mini LED parts and equipment, and which companies are likely to benefit if Apple rapidly adopts the technology. 

Apple previously warned that it would miss its target for March quarter sales because demand is down in China and iPhone supply could be constrained given that the factories that Apple contracts with to build products are not operating at full capacity. 

The process for launching new products build in Chinese factories often requires hands-on work from engineers, which is threatened given that Apple said in January that it restricted international travel to business-critical functions. 

Foxconn, one of Apple's primary manufacturing partners, said on Tuesday that its factories had already returned to 50% of "seasonal required capacity" and that it expects to be back to full seasonal capacity by the end of March. 

Last week, Apple CEO Tim Cook said that he was optimistic that China has the coronavirus situation under control, and said that Apple was in "phase three" of ramping production back up to speed. 

Apple shares are down over 6% since Apple's revenue warning on Feb. 17. 

Big Tech executives weigh in on how coronavirus is impacting business
Big Tech executives weigh in on how coronavirus is impacting business