MacBooks with OLED screens are a long way off – but could be worth the wait

MacBook Pro 14-inch (2021) open and on a table
(Image credit: Future)

BOE Technology is set to produce OLED displays for Apple’s iPads and MacBooks in the future, if a new report is on the money – and these panels could have a key advantage.

This comes from Korean site The Elec which asserts that Chinese giant BOE, a big name in panel production, is set to fire up a new Gen 8.6 OLED production line in the firm’s B16 factory (in Chengdu, China), with the panels to be used in the aforementioned Apple products.

Production will reportedly kick off ‘near’ the end of 2024, with Apple expected to debut the first OLED-toting iPads in 2024, followed possibly by a MacBook in 2025 (as theorized by a prominent Apple leaker, and The Elec appears to share this sentiment).

The report notes that Apple would be using Samsung and LG’s Gen 6 OLED display production lines for the first panels in iPads, but the plan is for later products – so that would include the potential MacBook – to use Gen 8.5 lines, and also BOE’s new Gen 8.6 production line as mentioned (all of these are broadly referred to as Gen 8 lines, by the way – it’s the same tech).

The major advantage of Gen 8 panels compared to Gen 6 is better yields of OLED panels per substrate. In other words, this production method is more cost-effective.

What’s also perhaps even more interesting here is the mention that BOE is currently testing two-stack tandem OLED tech with its existing manufacturing lines. These are panels with two emission layers, rather than single-stack as seen in phones.

Analysis: Key to a bright future?

The switch to two-stack tandem OLED is a key move here, as this new method allows for better brightness and extended longevity of the panel.

The latter is obviously particularly important for a laptop compared to a smartphone, because notebooks – especially expensive MacBook Pro models – are expected to last for a good many years to be a fair value proposition. And if the OLED screen starts to fade away in terms of brightness not too long into the notebook’s lifespan, that’s going to be pretty disappointing.

Another possibility for the future that we’ve seen with recent leaks is that Apple might go the route of using a flexible OLED panel to produce a MacBook with a foldable display.

Via MacRumors

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).