OLED MacBook Pros won’t arrive until 2026, so I'm pinning my hopes on an OLED MacBook Air

MacBook Pro M2 laptop open on a woman's lap in a library
(Image credit: Apple)

A new tweet from display industry analyst Ross Young has seemingly confirmed that we won’t be getting OLED models of the 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro until 2026 at the earliest - and I’m so, so disappointed.

Young tweeted out a Reuters article regarding a $3.14 billion investment by Samsung in OLED production in the Asan region of South Korea, claiming that the new manufacturing plants will be used to produce 14- and 16-inch OLED displays for MacBook Pro models starting in 2026.

This follows on from previous statements from Young regarding the rumored OLED MacBooks, where he stated that the MacBook Pro was not a priority for Apple when it comes to upgrading to OLED; instead, we’ll likely be seeing the new displays in iPad Pro and MacBook Air models first, hopefully as early as 2024.

This will be due to a wide number of factors, including a drop in MacBook sales and apparent difficulties in scaling up production of OLED displays. Apple recently announced an unlikely partnership with Samsung to boost manufacturing, as its existing arrangement with LG was apparently insufficient for producing the number of OLED panels needed for future Apple products.

Apple risks falling behind in the OLED arms race

OLED screens are rapidly becoming more common in productivity laptops, thanks to their impressive maximum brightness and color reproduction, as well as superior energy efficiency.

While they were once limited to premium devices, OLED is now far more affordable than it once was; last year’s Swift 3 OLED is a great example of an ultrabook that doesn't come with a huge price tag, costing close to the MacBook Air in price. If Young’s claims are accurate, not having an OLED-equipped MacBook Pro on the market for another three years could be a real blow to Apple - especially since display quality is a big selling point for MacBooks in general.

However, there is still speculation that an OLED MacBook Air could arrive sooner, potentially as early as next year. I’m really hoping this is the case - or an OLED 13-inch MacBook Pro, since Young’s tweet only mentions the 14- and 16-inch models. As anyone who has used an OLED laptop can attest, they really are excellent. I adored the display on last year’s Samsung Galaxy Book2 Pro, calling it one of the best ultrabooks available at the time.

It’s understandable that Apple might be taking a while to get in gear over OLED displays, since the LiquidRetina screens MacBooks have sported for years have certainly been good enough for consumers that there was no urgent need to upgrade. But with OLED (and AMOLED) becoming more ubiquitous over conventional LCD laptop screens, Apple really needs to step things up unless it wants to see some serious competition for the MacBook in the next couple of years.

Christian Guyton
Editor, Computing

Christian is TechRadar’s UK-based Computing Editor. He came to us from Maximum PC magazine, where he fell in love with computer hardware and building PCs. He was a regular fixture amongst our freelance review team before making the jump to TechRadar, and can usually be found drooling over the latest high-end graphics card or gaming laptop before looking at his bank account balance and crying.

Christian is a keen campaigner for LGBTQ+ rights and the owner of a charming rescue dog named Lucy, having adopted her after he beat cancer in 2021. She keeps him fit and healthy through a combination of face-licking and long walks, and only occasionally barks at him to demand treats when he’s trying to work from home.