OLED could mean a massive price hike for the iPad Pro

Are you ready for an iPad Pro that costs more than a MacBook Pro?

Apple iPad Pro 2021 12.9 review
(Image credit: Apple)

If you've been excited by the prospect of an iPad Pro with an OLED display, we may have bad news for you. According to an electronics trade magazine, Apple is seriously considering a price hike that'll make the Pro models the most expensive they've ever been – in some cases, more expensive than MacBook Pros.

The report in The Elec quotes industry sources who say that the 2024 OLED iPad Pros will be $1,500 and $1,800 respectively for the 11 and 13 inch models. The current Pros come in at $799 and $1,099, while the 13-inch MacBook Pro M2 is $1,299.

Has Apple gone mad?

Why is Apple considering such a huge iPad Pro price hike?

The short answer is that OLED panels cost more. And the slightly longer answer is that OLED panels of the sizes Apple wants cost even more than the others. That's because in order to make them, display partners Samsung and LG Display would have to combine production processes in a way that they haven't done before.

As we've seen with the best OLED TVs, whenever a new panel size is introduced it takes quite some time before efficiencies and economies of scale kick in. That's why the 42-inch LG C2 costs the same as the 48-inch one: its panel costs more to make.

According to The Elec report, as reported by MacRumors, a typical 10-inch OLED will set you back somewhere between $100 and $150. But Apple's 11- and 13-inch panels are likely to come in at around $270 and $350. However, it's possible that those prices will come down between now and the OLED iPads entering production. And it's possible that Apple might decide to absorb some of the cost difference, although I'm pretty confident that it won't.

The good news is that this is largely speculative right now, because the actual production hasn't started and any prices are currently guesswork: we won't know for some months yet whether the fears of really pricey iPad Pro panels turn out to be true. 

Carrie Marshall

Writer, musician and broadcaster Carrie Marshall has been covering technology since 1998 and is particularly interested in how tech can help us live our best lives. Her CV is a who’s who of magazines, newspapers, websites and radio programmes ranging from T3, Techradar and MacFormat to the BBC, Sunday Post and People’s Friend. Carrie has written more than a dozen books, ghost-wrote two more and co-wrote seven more books and a Radio 2 documentary series. When she’s not scribbling, she’s the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR (havrmusic.com).