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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

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.

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