Keen to see a MacBook Pro with OLED? We’ve got some disappointing news

MacBook Pro 16-inch (2023) in use in a studio
(Image credit: Future)

Apple switching to an OLED screen with its MacBook Pro has long been the subject of rumors, and another one has arrived, but it won’t please those who are keen to see the shift away from mini-LED.

Ross Young, who heads up research firm Display Supply Chain Consultants, and is regarded as a reliable leaker on the Apple scene, tells us that a MacBook Pro with OLED will not turn up until either 2026 or 2027.

Young revealed this latest prediction – heap on the salt, as ever, particularly with longer-term forecasts – on a webinar with Bloomberg (as flagged by MacRumors). If correct, we are three or four years away from an OLED screen for the MacBook Pro.

Previously, Young was predicting that OLED wouldn’t be realized for these laptops until 2026, and while technically, that assertion has been stuck to here, there was no mention of 2027 as a possibility previously. So, the rumored arrival timeframe has been extended by a year (potentially).

Young also again mentioned that iPad Pro models will get OLED next year.

Analysis: Is a 2027 debut starting to feel more likely now?

What’s interesting is that this chimes with speculation on the MacBook Pro with OLED that we’ve heard elsewhere not so long ago. Namely the rumor from Omdia (another market research firm) that made the claim OLED won’t come to Apple’s MacBook Pros until 2027, observing that the previous expectation was for a 2026 debut, but this had been pushed back.

Now, Young isn’t saying that – but the switch from a claim of a 2026 launch, to a 2026 or 2027 release, clearly suggests there’s a possibility that we are looking at a four-year wait for OLED.

That’ll be disappointing for some folks who are picky with their screens, and criticize the current mini-LED panels on image quality issues (such as clarity and blooming). Yes, those kinds of criticisms are out there, but just remember, screens are a pretty subjective area by nature, and this is nit-picking, really. In our reviews of the current MacBook Pro 14-inch (2023) and MacBook Pro 16-inch (2023), we praise the display mightily (concluding it’s the best screen there is on a laptop, in fact).

Of course, an OLED screen is still an exciting prospect and will have clear benefits, notably with contrast (giving darker, truer blacks most obviously, as we see on the best OLED TVs) and brightness. That said, Apple will obviously be improving mini-LED tech, and the latest chatter on this front is that the next-gen display will offer 10% better brightness. (Although the plan is seemingly not to up the brightness level, mind, but to keep it the same, and use the efficiency gain to drive even better battery life – we shall see).

For the foreseeable future, though, it’s looking like we’ll have to put up with minor bumps in screen quality, before the big OLED move arrives possibly after a pretty lengthy wait.

It’s worth noting that we could see new MacBook Pros before the end of the year (with that mentioned mini-LED improvement), according to another bit of gossip, but we’re doubtful that’s really going to happen. Still, it does seem to be the case that Apple will be launching some kind of Mac very soon (as in later this month).

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Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).