Apple could soon turn to OLED. If you’ve been following the latest laptop trends, then you know that OLED is the next big thing in display technology. Yes, it’s been around for a few years. but 2022 appears to be the year PC makers are finally looking to adopt this on a large scale. Hell, the Lenovo Yoga 9i and HP Specter x360 16 I recently reviewed both had great OLED panels, and Asus equips almost all laptopsincluding the more budget VivoBook range, with OLED.
Apple, however, is late. From the company new macbook air and MacBook Pro 13boe rely on standard IPS panels. Upgrade to MacBook Pro 14 and MacBook Pro 16 gives you a miniLED display, a step in the direction of OLED. It seems that Apple realized that to compete, it would have to take the plunge.
The Cupertino tech giant will start shipping MacBooks with OLED screens as early as 2024, according to a report by Ross Young. Young is a reliable industry analyst and the CEO of Display Supply Chain Consultants (via MacRumors). In a Tweeter shared with Super Followers, Young said the next OLED MacBook will likely be a MacBook Air, but could also be a MacBook, MacBook Pro, or a new series. Apple is also expected to bring OLED to the new 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models in 2024.
“It seems increasingly likely that Apple will release a 13.3 OLED laptop in 2024 in addition to the 11[-inch] OLED and 12.9[-inch] iPad Pros,” Young posted on Twitter. “It’s expected to be a MacBook Air, but it could potentially become a MacBook, MacBook Pro, or some new category.”
The three OLEDs products—a laptop and two tablets—will supposedly use a “tandem stack” structure, in which two emissions red, green and blue layers allow for increased brightness, improved longevity and reduced power consumption (by 30%). These OLED displays will likely support LTPO technology for variable refresh rate, or ProMotion, allowing them to go from 1Hz to 120Hz depending on the content on screen. Apple’s high-end products have ProMotion but only go down to 24Hz.
It wouldn’t be the first time that Apple has turned to OLED. The iPhone X released in 2017 was the first with OLED and now the entire line of phones uses the display technology. For now, miniLED is the premier display technology for MacBooks. While it offers exceptional brightness (especially when playing HDR content) and excellent reliability, miniLED can’t compete with OLED when it comes to contrast, black levels and power efficiency.
There are reasons why OLED hasn’t taken off in the laptop industry until now. The main concern is break-in, or when a static image is permanently kept on the screen. This was a serious problem in OLED’s early days, but the newer panels seem to be doing a better job of preventing this damaging behavior. Some laptop manufacturers, like Asus, add their own tricks (like enabling a dynamic background after a period of inactivity) to prevent burn-in, while others rely on their suppliers. We will be curious to know what insurances Apple will offer to customers, given that his support page calls the “expected” burn-in. LG, the leading OLED supplier for TVs, does not consider burn-in to be a product defect and does not cover it under warranty. CNET reports.
Eventually, Apple may look to an upcoming screen technology called micro-LED, which is expected to supplant OLED and mini-OLED by taking the best elements from both. Made up of microscopic LEDs and inorganic materials, micro-LED panels promise brighter images and better color quality than OLEDs without the risk of burn-in. Apple, for what it’s worth, bought Micro-LED producer LuxVue in 2014 and would use screen technology for its long rumored mixed reality headset.
micro-LED panels won’t be affordable for a while, Apple could therefore opt for OLED to act as a temporary bridge between LED and micro-LED if this latest report proves to be correct.
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