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If a new rumor is correct, the MacBook Air will get a high-tech OLED screen at some point after a migration to the technology in the MacBook Pro and iPad.
A supply chain report from Korean publication The Elec discusses mostly who will make the screens for the device, but not specifically when. The display for the rumored OLED MacBook Air is said to be made by Samsung, as LG is busy making OLED for iPad.
The report claims that Apple is working on a two-year development project, but it’s not clear how far along in that cycle the company is sitting. It also appears that the design is not yet finalized for the product.
A new enclosure for the OLED MacBook Air is unlikely, though. Apple likes to get six years or so out of an existing enclosure, and the company debuted a New MacBook Air chassis in 2022.
It’s been thought that the iPad and MacBook Pro OLED screens will use a new display technique called “tandem stack,” which could reduce power consumption by as much as 30%, increase brightness, and improve the display’s overall lifespan. Thursday’s report suggests a single-stack will be used for the MacBook Air.
This is not the first rumor about an OLED MacBook Air. Display analyst Ross Young was the first to discuss the matter, in June 2022.
Young added that the device is expected to be a MacBook Air, but could potentially be a “MacBook, MacBook Pro, or new category.”
“It is looking increasingly likely that Apple will launch a 13.3 OLED notebook in 2024 in addition to the 11[-inch] OLED and 12.9[-inch] iPad Pros,” Young wrote on Twitter at the time. “It is expected to be a MacBook Air, but could potentially become a MacBook, MacBook Pro or new category.”
Young added that all of the devices will adopt low-temperature polycrystalline oxide (LTPO) and a ProMotion variable refresh rate between 1Hz and 120Hz. While current iPad Pro models have ProMotion, they bottom out at 24Hz. Apple’s MacBook Air doesn’t have ProMotion.
Apple is currently rumored to be in the midst of moving its Mac and iPad lineups to LCD-based displays with mini LED backlighting. OLED displays, which are already present on its iPhones, would offer some benefits on top of mini LEDs, including improved contrast ratios and increased power efficiency.
The Elec is a good source of information from within Apple’s supply chain. It is notably less accurate when it predicts timetables or what Apple will do with a particular part. Thursday’s report is more of the latter than the former.