The good news about the OLED MacBook: you've lots of time to save up for it

Brighter, better, more energy efficient Mac displays are in development. But you won't see them in the Apple Store any time soon

MacBook Pro 15
(Image credit: Apple)

We know that OLED displays will be moving from the iPhone to the iPad in the not too distant future, because the panels are better quality and more energy efficient too. The same display tech is destined for mobile Macs too, but when it comes to OLED MacBooks we have good news and bad news about that. The good news is that you don't need to hurry to get enough cash to buy one.

A new report by Ross Young, the display analyst who's broken a number of Apple stories in recent years, says that while OLED MacBooks are indeed in development you're not going to see one any time soon. If you've been delaying your MacBook Air or MacBook Pro purchase, don't do it because you're hoping OLED Macs are imminent: they're still a few years away.

When can we expect OLED displays in MacBook Pro and MacBook Air?

According to Young, OLED Mac laptops are still at least three years away from launch. It's not that the technology isn't there; it's that manufacturing isn't. Speaking online with Bloomberg Intelligence's Woo Jin Ho, Young explained that it'll take a few years for Apple's suppliers to be able to mass produce OLED panels for laptops; as he's previously indicated, his expected time frame for OLED Macs is 2026 at the very earliest.

We'll see OLED iPads before that. Young believes that the 2024 iPad Pro will be launching with OLED displays; previous rumours suggest that the iPad Air and iPad mini will also be getting OLED, but not before 2026.

You've probably got an OLED display in your phone, so you'll be well aware of the most obvious benefits: much deeper blacks, higher contrast and vivid brightness. They're thinner too, which is always a popular thing when it comes to Apple's product design.

With OLED panels delivering variable refresh rates, as well as the improved efficiency of OLEDs over backlit LEDs, they help improve battery life too – something that's important for power users, because while Apple's mobile Macs promise all-day battery life that's based on relatively light usage, not absolutely hammering them with your most demanding pro apps.

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 (