The MacBook Pro or Air won’t get the big OLED screen upgrade anytime soon, if remarks from a typically-accurate insider come true. The first MacBook Pros with OLED panels might ship in 2027 at the soonest. Suppliers have to build new manufacturing lines for this particular type of display, one that Apple has apparently never used before.
If the switch to OLED sounds confusing for the MacBook Pro, that’s because Apple only recently switched from LCD to miniLED screens. The iPad Pros also rely on miniLED panels. Adding OLED to the panel mix so soon seems strange. Not to mention that it might cost us, the people who buy them, extra cash. But Apple is apparently interested in switching iPads and MacBooks to OLED in the near future.
The high-end MacBook Pros already rock better screens than before. They’re of the miniLED variety. A report claimed earlier this week that Apple might be readying a surprise late 2023 upgrade for the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models that focus on the screen. Supposedly, Apple will increase the brightness by 10% compared to the previous version.
The real upgrade concerns battery life. The new miniLED panels would also be more efficient, thus bringing battery life gains to the table. Improving battery life on the MacBook Pros is certainly an exciting prospect.
That’s also one of the strengths of OLED panels. The screens might be more expensive to manufacture than LCD. But they’re brighter and offer better color contrast. Also, they’re more efficient. OLED panels do not consume energy to display black, which is one reason why dark mode can help save energy on iPhones.
With all that in mind, miniLED seems to be a compromise choice for Apple. The tech is available now to improve the display experience and power efficiency on MacBook Pro and iPad Pro models.
But Apple’s goal seems to be using OLED across the board. For years, we saw rumors detailing Apple’s OLED plans for MacBook Pro/Air and iPads.
He said that Apple’s supply chain partners are developing lines for laptop-sized PLED panels. The process will take a few years. Therefore, Apple will only launch MacBook Pro models with OLED screens in 2026 or 2027.
Young also added that Apple will introduce iPad Pros with OLED panels next year. The iPad Air and iPad mini will get their OLED screens in 2026. Apple should refresh both products this year, but they’ll stick with LCDs.
While Apple will never comment on such development plans, Young has a great track record reporting on display-related innovations for Apple products. His claims make sense, considering that laptops featuring OLED screens are hardly the norm in the industry. Therefore, display vendors must assemble production lines for notebooks and tablets separate from the smartphone screen factories.
I’d speculate that once that’s done, Apple might want to scale up OLED panel production and equip all of its MacBooks and iPads with OLED panels. I am certainly excited to see what sort of battery life gains we’d be looking at from laptops featuring OLED screens and the best M-series chips in 2027.