Apple OLED MacBook Pro delayed for foldable launch

Apple introduced its first tablet with an OLED display, the M4 iPad Pro, available in two sizes.

Apple’s recent adoption of OLED displays in its iPads may indicate that MacBooks with this technology are on the horizon. Experts expect a release date between 2026 and 2027, although the exact timing is still uncertain.

There has been an exciting development in recent Apple news. Two insiders report that Apple is working on a foldable MacBook. The project is well advanced and provides us with display specifications and price estimates for some components.

These foldable MacBook rumors shed new light on the OLED MacBook Pro news. Since every foldable device requires an OLED panel, Apple may release standard OLED MacBook Pros alongside a foldable MacBook with an OLED screen. Alternatively, the foldable laptop could become Apple’s first MacBook with an OLED display.

According to a report from research firm Omdia released this week, Apple plans to eventually equip the iPad Air and iPad mini with OLED panels now that the iPad Pro has adopted them. Rumors also suggest that the smallest iPad could get an OLED panel in the next few years.

More interestingly, the company predicts that Apple could debut its first MacBook Pro with an OLED screen in 2026:

According to Ricky Park, principal analyst in Omdia Display’s research practice, «Apple is highly likely to incorporate OLED into its MacBook Pro models as early as 2026. This move could spark significant demand for OLED in the notebook market, potentially reaching more than 60 million units by 2031.

Other than this prediction, details are scarce. Omdia notes that some of the world’s largest display manufacturers are already preparing for increased demand for tablet and notebook-sized OLED screens. The company highlights Samsung Display, BOE and Visionox as companies investing in new equipment to support mass production by 2026 and 2027.

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14-inch M3 Max MacBook Pro on the table

Moreover, it is worth noting LG Display is the main supplier of OLED panels for the Apple M4 iPad Pro. When Apple is ready to launch OLED MacBook Pros, LG will probably want to get involved in their production as well.

As for the foldable MacBook, renowned Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has named LG as the exclusive partner for the crease-free screens Apple wants for the device.

LGD (panel) and Amphenol (hinge) are currently Apple’s exclusive development partners: A high level of integration between panel and hinge is required to solve the crease problem. LGD and Amphenol are the exclusive development partners of the panel and hinge. Based on experience, Apple typically works with just one manufacturer to focus resources on overcoming the manufacturing challenges that innovative designs present. For example, the quad (periscope) camera of the iPhone 15 Pro Max was developed in collaboration with LGIT (module) and Largan (lens).

Kuo also provided production cost estimates:

Apple aims to make the panel as crease-free as possible, which requires high design specifications for both the panel and the hinge. As a result, the cost of the panel and curtain is very high. Current preliminary estimates put the panel and hinge at around $600-650 and $200-250 respectively. If production yields were to improve significantly in the era of mass production, these costs could be reduced.

The OLED panels in the iPad Pro are quite expensive, and rumors suggest that they are the reason for the tablet’s price increase this year. These panels are also unique in the industry.

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Apple’s Tandem OLED panels are exceptionally thin, yet provide screen enhancements not found in traditional OLED panels of this size. Compared to single-layer OLED screens, they offer higher brightness, better efficiency and longer lifespan.

Reports prior to the launch of the iPad Pro suggested that Tandem OLED panels were more difficult to manufacture. Both Samsung and LG are involved in the supply chain of OLED panels for the new tablets.

Different modes of the HP Specter Fold

The point is that Apple has been preparing for the future of computing by working with Samsung and LG to develop thinner OLED panels that outperform current alternatives. These advanced panels will likely be used in future MacBooks, whether they are traditional laptops or foldable models.

I suggest that Apple is setting the stage for the future of computing. In collaboration with Samsung and LG, they have developed thinner OLED panels that surpass current capabilities. These panels will likely be used in traditional laptops or folding models of future MacBooks.

Predictions like Omdia’s probably accurately reflect the current state of the industry. Competitors to Apple’s Macs and iPads will no doubt be looking to incorporate similar OLED technology into their high-end devices.

Therefore, I am sure that MacBook Pros with OLED panels will arrive in stores soon. Apple will probably aim to introduce OLED screens on traditional i foldable MacBook Pro at the same time. However, if costs make this difficult, there could be a gradual rollout. It will be interesting to see which debuts first: the OLED foldable MacBook (Pro?) or the standard OLED MacBook Pro.

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