Skip to main content

MacBook Pro OLED: Here’s everything we know so far

Halo running on a MacBook Pro.
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

While many of Apple’s laptop rivals have embraced OLED screens, Apple has stuck firmly with mini-LED in its MacBook Pro — and the results have been spectacular. As we said when we reviewed the M3 Max MacBook Pro, it has the best display out of any laptop, bar none.

Yet, there whispers that Apple is working on something even better: its own brand of OLED display that could take the MacBook Pro to the next level. It’s still early days, and there are all sorts of different rumors flying about, but it seems that something big is definitely in the works.

To bring you up to speed, we’ve scoured the rumor mill for all the latest happenings. We’ve put everything together in this guide, so by the end of it, you should be well informed about the OLED MacBook Pro. Here’s everything we know so far.

Price and release date speculation

An open MacBook Pro on a table.
Luke Larsen / Digital Trends

Right now, there’s a lot of uncertainty surrounding the OLED MacBook Pro’s future asking price, but we can use the past as a guide. For example, when Apple revamped the MacBook Pro with 14-inch and 16-inch mini-LED panels in 2021, it bumped the price up by $100. Having said that, though, this update also brought a raft of new features, including new Apple silicon chips and the notch-ified display.

This time, if Apple just upgrades the screen to OLED and keeps everything else the same, the price might not change. If, however, it takes the opportunity for a more wide-ranging overhaul, don’t be surprised if the price increases slightly.

And when might we see all this? Well, that’s equally up in the air. There are currently several possible release dates. According to Korean outlet ETNews, Apple will launch an OLED 16-inch MacBook Pro in 2025, then follow it up with a 14-inch version the year after. Industry analysts Omdia, however, think both models will move to OLED in 2026.

But those aren’t the only people making predictions. Well-known analyst Ross Young has said Apple plans to launch OLED MacBook Pros in 2026 or 2027, while news site The Elec believes 2027 is the date to keep an eye on. But just to make things even more complicated, The Elec’s report focuses on when one particular supplier will be able to provide OLED panels to Apple — it could be that other suppliers (and thus the MacBook Pro itself) are ready before then.

With Apple, it’s usually best to take a cautious approach when it comes to release dates. The company prefers to wait a little longer and get a product right rather than rushing to market with a half-baked and unfinished device. With that in mind, a launch date closer to 2026 or 2027 feels like a safer bet.

Design and features

The MacBook Pro on a wooden table.
Digital Trends

Given how long we’ll probably have to wait until we see the first OLED MacBook Pro, it’s difficult to predict its design with much confidence. Apple last redesigned the MacBook Pro in 2021, so by 2026 or 2027 it might feel that an overhaul is in order. Perhaps then it will finally be able to shed the notch and put the Face ID camera system under the display, but that’s just speculation for now.

We can be more certain when it comes to what the OLED panels will bring. Compared to mini-LED, OLED offers improved brightness, contrast, color accuracy, and battery life, which are all things that would appeal to the MacBook Pro’s target audience.

But since this is Apple we’re talking about, the company will probably want to have a few high-end extras built in to entice potential buyers. And on that note, Young has claimed that Apple’s first OLED panels will come with several world firsts to brag about. Specifically, he thinks they’ll be the “first OLED tablets with LTPO, first OLED tablets with a tandem stack, brightest and longest life OLEDs in tablets, lightest and thinnest OLEDs in tablets as well due to glass thinning and TFE.”

Cutting through the jargon and acronyms, Young’s post essentially means he thinks Apple’s OLED displays will be very efficient on battery life while boasting excellent brightness, all wrapped up in a thin and light panel. While he was discussing OLED panels specifically relating to the iPad Pro, we wouldn’t be surprised to see similar tech make it to the MacBook Pro.

Using the Apple MacBook Pro 14-inch on a table.
Apple

And it looks like Young’s predictions were pretty on the money. That’s because Apple unveiled an OLED iPad Pro at an event on May 7, and this tablet featured — you guessed it — a tandem OLED stack that enabled Apple to make the device even thinner. Now that they’re in the iPad, we think it’s only a matter of time before this tech migrates across to the MacBook Pro.

And there’s more. Bloomberg journalist Mark Gurman has predicted that Apple could launch a touchscreen MacBook as soon as 2025. If that proves to be true, we can easily see Apple adding that tech to the OLED MacBook Pro when it debuts a couple of years later. Oh, and the OLED iPad Pro also now comes with a nano-texture glass option that significantly cuts down reflections. That’s something we can easily see coming to the MacBook Pro, particularly since it’s already in the Pro Display XDR that’s made for the Mac Pro.

What about the chip powering all of this? That’s harder to predict, but we can make an educated guess. There are reports that Apple wants to switch its Macs to an annual upgrade cycle, potentially starting this year. If so, the OLED MacBook Pro could come with an M6- or M7-series chip if it is released in 2026 or 2027, respectively.

What else will get an OLED display?

Bladur's Gate 3 being played on the M3 MacBook Air.
Luke Larsen / Digital Trends

Judging by the rumors, Apple isn’t planning on limiting its OLED panels to the MacBook Pro. In fact, it could be about to build them into almost every device it makes. While iPhones have had OLED screens for years, most of Apple’s other devices could soon join them.

At the moment, there are two main outlines for Apple’s future roadmap, with one coming from ETNews and the other from Omdia. Starting with ETNews, the outlet believes we’ll see the following OLED schedule come to pass:

  • iPad Pro in 2024
  • 16-inch MacBook Pro in 2025
  • 14-inch MacBook Pro, 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Air, 11-inch iPad Air and 8.7-inch iPad mini in 2026
  • 12.9-inch iPad Air, upgraded iPad Pro in 2027

Omdia, meanwhile, has published an alternative timeline:

  • iPad Pro in 2024
  • 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro and 11-inch iPad Air in 2026
  • 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Air, upgraded iPad Pro, iPad mini, foldable 20-inch iPad Pro and two standalone displays (32-inch and 42-inch) in 2027

Omdia has previously published a report claiming that Apple is working on an OLED iMac in three sizes: 27 inches, 32 inches, and 42 inches, which are all apparently scheduled for 2027. However, it’s not clear if the latter two are the same devices as the 32-inch and 42-inch standalone OLED displays Omdia has also claimed are coming that year.

Regardless, while the two sources agree on some points, there are also some notable points of difference. What they both believe, though, is that OLED is coming to future Apple products, and in a big way.

Editors' Recommendations

Topics
Alex Blake
In ancient times, people like Alex would have been shunned for their nerdy ways and strange opinions on cheese. Today, he…
The best MacBook to buy in 2024
Apple MacBook Pro 16 downward view showing keyboard and speaker.

With M3 chips outfitted across the entire MacBook range, you might be wondering which is the best MacBook to buy in 2024. Figuring it out isn't always easy, and buying the newest MacBook might not be the right decision based on your needs. Apple has several tiers of performance, as well as various sizes, which can further complicate the matter.

What’s more, you can also still get M1 and M2 MacBooks, some from Apple’s own website and some from third-party retailers. But are they still worth your money? Our guide should help you decide.

Read more
iPad Pro M4 vs. MacBook Air M3: a harder choice than ever
iPad Pro with Magic Keyboard.

The line between the iPad Pro and the MacBook Air has always been slim. Despite being very different devices, they're the two 13-inch devices in Apple's lineup -- and with the updated M4 iPad Pro, they are more competitive with each other than ever.

There's a lot we still don't know about the M4 iPad Pro, but here's a preliminary look at how the two devices stack up against each other.
Specs

Read more
Here’s everything we know about the M4 MacBook Pro so far
An open MacBook Pro on a table.

With the launch of the M4 iPad Pro, you might be wondering what’s in the cards for the MacBook Pro. Is it following hot on the heels of Apple’s flagship iPad, or will we have a significant wait before Apple’s laptop gets an upgrade?

We’ve scoured the rumor mill to find the answer, as well as worked out what sort of performance, features and designs we can expect. If you’re interested in learning more about the upcoming M4 MacBook Pro, you’re in the right place.
Price and release date

Read more