Skip to main content

Hoping for an OLED MacBook Pro? We’ve got some bad news

If you’ve been waiting for Apple to launch an OLED MacBook Pro, there’s some bad news: it might not come out for another three years. That’s a serious wait considering many of Apple’s rivals have already brought out some of the best OLED laptops on the market.

The news comes from display industry tipster Ross Young, who is well-known for having a solid track record when it comes to Apple leaks. Young tweeted a link to a Reuters article outlining Samsung’s plans for an OLED fabrication plant, adding the comment: “This fab is for 14” and 16” OLED MacBook Pros from 2026.”

This fab is for 14” and 16” OLED MacBook Pro’s from 2026. Some technical risk though, with new backplane approach and frontplane approach to lower costs and improve performance.

— Ross Young (@DSCCRoss) April 4, 2023

If true, it’s a touch disappointing, since laptops bequeathed with OLED panels are not an unusual sight these days. To some, it might feel as if Apple is lagging behind the competition.

That said, Apple’s MacBook Pro laptops still have some of the best displays in the business, even without OLED technology. That’s because they’re outfitted with mini-LED panels (which Apple calls Liquid Retina XDR).

In fact, in our 16-inch MacBook Pro review, we stated that “There’s just no other laptop that has the entire package of brightness, color, and HDR performance,” adding that “Apple’s still way ahead of the game.” So it’s not like MacBook fans are having to scrape by with bargain-bin screens while they wait for the OLED update.

Still, if Apple can take mini-LED screen technology and make it so good it outperforms even the best OLED laptops, the chances are its first OLED MacBook Pro could blow rival offerings out of the water. That might explain the seemingly late 2026 date — Apple likes to wait until it can be the best rather than rushing in with something mediocre.

The MacBook Air could come first

The screen of the MacBook Air M2.
M2 MacBook Air Luke Larsen / Digital Trends

There’s an unusual quirk about the 2026 date, though: it could mean Apple launches a consumer-focused MacBook Air with an OLED panel before the flagship MacBook Pro. That’s because several rumors — including one from Ross Young — have said the MacBook Air could get an OLED display as soon as 2024.

Interestingly, that might be limited to the 13-inch model and not the rumored 15-inch MacBook Air, which could launch at some point this year. According to Young, the cost of manufacturing 15-inch MacBook Air might make it too expensive for its consumer audience, which could then leave us with the odd situation of the smaller MacBook Air being granted an OLED screen, but not the larger one.

Regardless, it seems we’ll have a while to wait for Apple’s MacBook Pro line to launch with OLED displays. That’s frustrating, but at least we’ve got the superb Liquid Retina XDR to tide us over while we wait.

Editors' Recommendations

Alex Blake
In ancient times, people like Alex would have been shunned for their nerdy ways and strange opinions on cheese. Today, he…
A new wave of powerful laptops rises to challenge the MacBook Pro
Apple MacBook Pro 16 downward view showing keyboard and speaker.

The MacBook Pro got really powerful in its most recent update. The 16-inch M3 Max configuration bumps the graphics performance significantly, making it unlike anything you can buy for professional content creators.

But Windows laptops are responding. There's a new wave of non-gaming laptops that are integrating GPUs up to an RTX 4070 and challenging the performance of the MacBook Pro -- often at a much lower price.
Samsung Galaxy Book4 Ultra

Read more
MacBook Pro 16 vs. MacBook Pro 14: The important differences
MacBook Pro laptops.

MacBooks are typically seen as some of the best laptops money can buy, thanks to their combination of performance and longevity. It's not uncommon for MacBooks to be running flawlessly years after purchase -- so while their upfront costs are a bit steep, they're great long-term investments.

That holds true for the MacBook Pro lineup, which comes in two sizes -- 14 inches and 16 inches. Both are top-of-the-line computers designed to handle pretty much anything you can throw at them, offering access to the M3 chip, vibrant Liquid Retina XDR displays, and plenty of other high-end hardware.

Read more
If you buy one MacBook Air alternative, make it this one
The MacBook Air on a white table.

I see you. You're considering a flashy new MacBook Air -- perhaps one of the new M3 models or even the cheaper M2 configurations. I'm not going to sit here and pretend like that isn't a wise option to consider for your next laptop. These are excellent laptops, and that M2 model in particular is a solid value at a starting price of $999.

But let me make an appeal to you about a laptop that upends the value proposition of the MacBook Air in a number of ways. The laptop I'm talking about is the Asus Zenbook 14 OLED (Q425MA). This is a laptop we reviewed earlier this year, but it continues to be the king of value. No other laptop you can buy right now offers this much bang for your buck -- the MacBook Air included.

Read more