Over the last year, Apple has seen MacBook sales soar, and you might be tempted to join the rush to a new macOS laptop. But don’t jump just yet. The MacBook family is in a state of transition, and it would be a mistake to buy a new computer right now.
Of course the move to Apple Silicon is attractive, and a new design is expected in the Fall. But Apple’s decision over new screen technology is not as solid as it once was. What sort of display do you want on your Mac, and how long should you wait for it?
Apple is, of course, moving over the high-end MacBook Pro laptops to use miniLED display technology later this year. This should allow the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro to offer more vivid colours, deeper blacks, and better power efficiency. That alone should be cause for anyone looking at a MacBook Pro to wait and see.
But there’s more, and it’s very much a sharp turn in the road. Apple is preparing to move into OLED technology for its laptop screens, potentially backtracking from the miniLED move in some of its hardware..
While miniLED does offer the aforementioned benefits, when you step back and look at miniLED as part of the consumer electronics ecosystem, it’s not an easy technology to rely on. Apple’s yield on miniLED displays, both for the upcoming MacBook Pro and the current iPad Pro, has been lower than hoped for. Over the summer Apple’s suppliers have worked hard and changed the design t lift the yields up.
On top of that you have to include the worldwide shortage of silicon chips, which has impacted the available parts for miniLED screens, with the display controllers particularly affected. Add in the economic slowdown of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, and the switch to miniLED has been a rocky one. Is it any wonder Apple is looking at alternatives.
And that alternative is OLED. Samsung Display has bolstered its production lines for OLED displays with new hardware and an increased order book; with Samsung Electronic and Appl expected to make up the lion’s share of the increase.
The question now is what sort of screen do you want in your macOS laptop. If you purchase now, you are guaranteed to have an IPS screen, be it a MacBook Air or MacBook Pro. Not only that, but these machines are sporting the older design language which is set to be replaced; starting with the high-end MacBook Pro update by the end of the year.
The thinking was Apple was set to move over the entire MacBook family to miniLED over the next release cycle as part of the new design language. That doesn’t look to be a nailed on decision. It’s more likely that Apple will mix and match the types of display in its laptops to create some differentiation between the MacBook Air, the low-end MacBook Pro, and the high-end MacBook Pro, with a mix of IPS, OLED, and miniLED.
The screen display is a key part of any laptop’s value offering. The exact future of macOS laptop displays remains up in the air, but one thing is certain. The tired technology of today is on the way out, and yo should wait to see what Tim Cook and his team offer you over the next few months.
Now read the latest headlines from Cupertino on Apple Loop…