MacBook Pro could get an OLED display – but at what cost?

New MacBook Pros were only revealed last week but we’re already hearing rumors about future models, and one of the bigger changes potentially in the pipeline is a shiny new OLED display for Apple’s notebooks.

According to Korean tech site ET News, Apple wants to move beyond using OLED technology merely for the Touch Bar, and ditch the LCD screen on the MacBook Pro in favor of an OLED display.

According to the website: “Apple is currently looking into ways of using OLED panels for MacBooks and testing their performance.”

Of course, there are a couple of things to note here off-the-bat. Firstly, this is just a rumor from an industry insider (so comes with the usual salt-based caveats). And secondly, the company is just testing options at the moment – so any MacBook with an OLED screen could be several years out.

Indeed, with just a hardware refresh expected next year – including a bump in the amount of system RAM which can be specified – and possibly a new morphing e-ink keyboard rumored for 2018, perhaps we’re looking at 2019 for OLED. (After all, Apple surely wouldn’t introduce two major changes together – perish the thought).

At any rate, when (or if) it does arrive, OLED does offer some obvious benefits in terms of superb color reproduction and inky blacks in particular, along with swift response times. And they’re less prone to negative effects from glare, too, compared to LCD.

Also, the panels are much thinner than LCDs, which will mean a thinner lid and more svelte notebook overall.

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Burn after viewing 

The downsides? There are potential burn-in worries (the danger of long-term high brightness usage leaving bits of the UI permanently etched on the screen), but the biggest pause for concern is the obvious one: simple cost.

Sure, an OLED screen on the MacBook Pro would doubtless be quite spectacular, but look at the prices of the new MacBook Pros which have merely had an OLED strip added to the top of the keyboard. The cheapest model is $1,799 (£1,749, AU$2,699) at launch.

Taking one example of current pricing for OLED notebooks, Alienware just revealed its new 13-inch gaming laptop which has an OLED screen and starts at $2,099 (around £1,710, AU$2,740).

Factor in the usual Apple premium, which seems to be getting even chunkier, looking at the latest MacBook Pros, and frankly, our wallet is cowering with fear at the potential asking price for a MacBook Pro with a full OLED display.

Perhaps this is another reason, then, that Apple will be waiting further down the line until potentially introducing this technology – because OLED will gradually become more affordable.

Via: Cult of Mac

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).