Declining sales may end the dream of the OLED MacBook before it even begins

A sad woman looks at her MacBook while rubbing her temples in frustration
(Image credit: Shutterstock / Prostock-studio)

Plenty of talk from the tech industry grapevine about an OLED MacBook has been circulating for quite some time now, with tentative release windows for both OLED MacBook Pro and Air models. But this latest report could put a permanent kibosh on those rumors.

According to new rumors from The Elec, Apple’s declining revenue from MacBook sales in its second quarter compared to 2022 has threatened the tech giant’s OLED plans. Previous leaks claimed that the MacBook Air could be receiving a Gen 8 OLED panel as soon as 2024, while the MacBook Pro would possibly be getting that upgrade in 2026.

But as The Elec states, this technology requires larger substrates, which neither Samsung nor LG has developed yet, and equipment orders need to be placed soon since it takes at least a year to manufacture them. But because of the declining MacBook revenue as well as general declining sales in tech due to the cost of living crisis, the Korean companies are “undecided how much Apple will pay” for these panels.

Do better by your MacBook audience, Apple

Apple seems to be focusing more on adding Gen 8 OLED panels to its iPads, which makes sense since sales from that product line have remained stable. However, it’s a shame that the MacBook line might suffer due to declining sales from a single financial quarter.

This is especially frustrating considering that one of the main reasons for this decline, other than the cost of living woes, is most likely from these MacBook refreshes not offering enough incentive for buyers to purchase new MacBook Air and Pros. What reason would the average person have to get a new M2 Pro or Max MacBook Pro if they have a perfectly functioning M1 Pro MacBook Pro that they already spent quite a bit of money on?

Gaming could be one reason, as the latest silicon from Apple is excellent in that regard. Games like Resident Evil Village’s macOS debut in 2022 and Eve Online already prove this. And even running Parallels Desktop, virtual software that emulates Windows 11, games like Resident Evil 8 still reach 120FPS on a Pro with ease. But PC gaming on Mac is still limited, so that’s not enough of a reason to upgrade.

Though the M2 chips for both the MacBook Air and Pro offer incredible performance, the M1 is still an excellent choice that’s well-suited for most buyers' needs already. Waiting for the M3 silicon would be a much better bet for much of the market, and having an improved display along with it would be a huge bonus.

But M3 could be badly delayed, and if buyers are essentially being told to purchase extremely expensive refreshes but without even the promise of better screen tech, then what’s the point?

Tech giants and manufacturers must better consider the needs of their audience in order to improve sales, not just mindlessly churn out products every year and hope that revenue will magically increase. Come on, Apple — give us a MacBook upgrade to really get excited about!

Allisa James
Computing Staff Writer

Named by the CTA as a CES 2023 Media Trailblazer, Allisa is a Computing Staff Writer who covers breaking news and rumors in the computing industry, as well as reviews, hands-on previews, featured articles, and the latest deals and trends. In her spare time you can find her chatting it up on her two podcasts, Megaten Marathon and Combo Chain, as well as playing any JRPGs she can get her hands on.