OLED MacBooks look a lot more likely as Samsung joins the Apple panel party

OLEDs are still coming to the iPad Pros first, but OLED MacBook Pro and Air plans are well advanced

Apple MacBook Pro 16-inch (2021)
(Image credit: Apple)

A new report appears to confirm rumours that OLED MacBooks and MacBook Pros are on their way: Samsung is getting ready to join the Apple party by making OLED panels for its future laptops. However, as we previously reported you've got plenty of time to save up for one. Samsung's MacBook panels aren't expected to be in production before 2027.

The report, in trade site The Elec, says that Samsung is in the process of assembling its manufacturing facilities for eighth-generation OLED panel production. Those facilities are destined for MacBook panels, but not for a few years. 

These panels are expected to be part of a big OLED push by Apple. Over the next few years we'll see iPads join the iPhone as OLED devices, with the MacBook Pro as the first OLED Mac before the MacBook Air and smaller iPads follow suit. 

The move is expected to begin this year but it'll be a slow roll-out; inevitably it'll be the most premium Apple products that get the premium displays first. That means the top-end iPad Pros this Spring, with the next tranche of OLED devices currently tipped for release in 2025 and 2026.

When can we expect the first OLED MacBooks?

According to trade title ET News in a report last year, the timescale looks something like this:

  • OLED iPad Pros in March or April 2024
  • OLED MacBook Pro 16-inch in 2025
  • OLED MacBook Pro 14-inch and MacBook Air 13-inch and 15-inch in 2026
  • OLED iPad Air and iPad mini, also in 2026

As ever with Apple predictions these dates are not Apple announcements but reports from within Apple's supply chain, and that means the specifics of the plans may change – and may have already changed. 

While the specifics may change, Apple's move to OLED is a given because of the multiple advantages it delivers: not just better image quality and massively improved contrast but also lower power consumption and thinner, lighter panels compared to the LCDs in current devices. That's why OLED is already in every iPhone apart from the iPhone SE, and that's expected to be redesigned this year.

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).