Home / iPad / Apple giving the iPad Pro an OLED display has an unexpected ‘smart’ benefit

Apple giving the iPad Pro an OLED display has an unexpected ‘smart’ benefit

iPad Pro with keyboard and pencil

Jason Hiner/ZDNET

The chances are high that next week’s Apple event will revolve around a new pair of iPads, with much-needed revamps coming to the Air and Pro lines. With the latter, an upgrade from LCD and Mini LED to an organic light-emitting diode (OLED) display will be the feature to watch for. I have my popcorn ready for when Apple spends a good portion of the virtual presentation discussing it.

Also: What to expect from Apple’s iPad event next week: iPad Pro, Air, Pencil, more

In fact, here’s a bingo card for what Apple will likely say about the new OLED displays: deeper blacks make colored pixels on the screen pop a little more, faster response times offer smoother visuals when watching sports and playing games, and more pixels turned off means more battery life.

Here’s the other benefit of OLED that I hope Apple doesn’t leave out: The ability to set an always-on display, presenting helpful information such as the time, weather, notifications, and more while the screen is idle. 

Apple has already done this with the iPhone and Apple Watch, and offering a similar software feature on the new, more capable iPads would be a sensible next step. Should Tim Cook be even more ambitious, such a feature could turn the iPad Pro into the ultimate smart home display.

Transforming a docked tablet into the control center of a smart home is nothing new; ZDNET’s Maria Diaz has spent an unmeasurable amount of time putting that exact idea to the test. It makes sense: When you’re not using your tablet, why not repurpose it into a smart display instead of setting it aside like a closed book?

Also: 7 iPad Pro features I want to see Apple announce during its May event

Docked or mounted, the iPad Pro could project a Home Kit menu, a music player, a video, a news feed, and even the Notes app as it already does. Then, when not in use, it could shift to always-on display mode (or StandBy Mode, should Apple transfer the feature to iPadOS), showing you the date and time, weather, and other glanceable information.

With Siri expected to receive an AI makeover during WWDC in June, it would only make the idea of the iPad Pro doubling as a smart home display more compelling. Beyond the iPhone, this would be Apple’s way to get its voice assistant better integrated with your lifestyle, whether you’re cooking in the kitchen or working in the office.

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