Apple has big plans for the MacBook Pro in 2021, concerning computing power, screen size, and screen quality. The company decided to redesign the 13-inch model into a 14-inch MacBook Pro while also announcing the launch of a new, 16-inch model.
Both models will feature significant hardware upgrades, including a more powerful version of Apple’s proprietary M1 chip – the M1X. However, Apple doesn’t plan on stopping there; the company might launch its first laptops with OLED displays as soon as 2022.
Interestingly enough, most of these screens will be manufactured by Apple’s biggest competitor in the smartphone market – the South Korean tech giant, Samsung.
At the same time, Samsung is developing new manufacturing technology for producing OLED screens larger than 10 inches, explicitly aiming to meet Apple’s demand for MacBook and iPad displays.
Apple’s decision to launch new MacBooks and iPads with mini-LED screens in 2021 and then re-release them with OLED panels in the following year isn’t all that surprising, considering the ongoing global component shortages.
This correlates with Apple’s decision to push back the release date for the 14-inch MacBook Pro from 2020 to summer 2021, signaling the company’s purported shift towards mini-LED and OLED displays.
However, the semiconductor and components shortage still affects tech companies, many of which struggle to meet the public demand for their products – Sony’s PlayStation 5 is the perfect example of this.
Unfortunately for Apple consumers, 14-inch MacBook Pros faced another delay, and new reports suggest the product won’t appear until the autumn of this year.
And while generally unfavorable, this situation could allow Apple to avoid testing the waters with both feet. Instead, the company might combine different screen panels inside various device models to differentiate and even price them differently.
Additionally, OLED displays are an excellent alternative to mini-LED, which can undoubtedly help the company meet market demands.
Mini-LED and OLED panels are a significant improvement over Apple’s Retina displays featured on many of the company’s devices.
Retina displays, though considered LED, are, in fact, LCD screens with LED backlights. As such, they can’t really compete with better brightness, more intense colors, and better contrast provided by mini-LCD and OLED displays.
Still, it’s unclear which Apple devices will keep their mini-LED displays and which will transition to OLED display technology in the future. For the time being, the brand new MacBook Pro and the pricier iPad Pro models will feature mini-LCD displays.
Despite being Apple’s most formidable competitor when it comes to smartphones, Samsung is the world’s leading manufacturer of OLED displays and Apple’s largest supplier of OLED displays for the iPhone.
Despite its prominence in OLED manufacturing, Samsung is already developing new manufacturing technology that caters to Apple’s MacBook Pro and iPad business. It’s worth noting that the South Korean tech giant already launched its OLED screens for laptops, simultaneously unveiling its Under Panel Camera (UPC) technology, which conceals the selfy camera underneath the smartphone’s display.
This new and far more advanced manufacturing process uses dry etching technology for semiconductors, exposing the thin-film transistor material to a bombardment of ions, resulting in a finer etching of more precise circuitry when compared to wet etching methods.
Naturally, OLED displays for the IT industry will make the most use of this developing manufacturing process, as they require a more precise alignment of RGB pixels on the panel.
Admittedly, the company already produces OLED screens larger than 10-inches, but why not improve the manufacturing technology and processes involved to impress the highly desirable client, such as Apple?
With that in mind, Apple’s adoption of Samsung’s new OLED technology for MacBooks and iPads in the near future seems like a logical step forward.
However, there’s no telling whether Apple will indeed use Samsung’s new OLED displays or source their OLED screens from other OLED manufacturers, like LG or BOE, who are perhaps equally as capable but have a smaller manufacturing capacity.