OLED MacBook rumors: Release date, price, and design update

Apple MacBook Air M3 (2024)
(Image credit: Apple)

Could your next MacBook feature a stunning OLED display? It's possible. In May, Apple announced the iPad Pro M4, which included a Tandem OLED panel. Many people are now wondering if the same screen is coming to the MacBook soon. 

As with the iPad, we will most likely see an OLED display on the MacBook Pro first. While Apple hasn't officially announced that OLED is coming to the Mac, there are already rumors circulating about it. The OLED panel on the iPad Pro M4 all but guarantees we will soon see this tech on a MacBook, too. 

Here's a look at everything we know so far about the OLED MacBook, including when Apple might announce it, how much it could cost, and more. 

OLED MacBook: Release date

iPhone on a MagSafe stand next to a MacBook Pro

(Image credit: Jeremy Bezanger/Unsplash)

The big question surrounding the OLED MacBook is when Apple will announce and release it. Apple will most likely put an OLED panel in the MacBook Pro first, so the earliest we could possibly see the OLED MacBook is with the MacBook Pro M4. Based on Apple's MacBook release date history, Apple could potentially announce the MacBook Pro M4 as soon as October 29, 2024. 

However, current rumors from industry analysts indicate that the next MacBook won't include an OLED display. A May 2024 report from research firm Omdia predicted Apple won't release an OLED MacBook until 2026. The report specifies that Apple could add OLED displays to the Mac "as early as 2026," meaning we could end up waiting much longer than that. 

So, we may not get an official announcement for the OLED MacBook until late 2025 at the earliest. 

Interestingly, this potential 2026 release date for the OLED MacBook also lines up with rumors about the release date for the all-screen foldable MacBook. According to Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, mass production for the all-screen foldable MacBook is slated for late 2025 through early 2026. That Mac is also expected to feature an OLED display, reportedly made by Samsung Display, which was also one of Apple's suppliers for the OLED panel in the iPad Pro M4. 

So, it's possible the first OLED MacBook will be the all-screen foldable MacBook, which could launch in mid to late 2026. 

OLED MacBook: Design

MacBook Air 15 M3 lid closed on a slatted wooden table

(Image credit: Laptop Mag/Sean Riley)

The OLED MacBook could feature a couple of exciting design updates. The most dramatic possible redesign would be an all-screen foldable MacBook. This rumored upcoming MacBook would work similar to a foldable phone, but on the scale of a laptop with a display measuring 18 to 20 inches when folded out flat. The all-screen design would mean there would be no physical keyboard or touchpad. It would look a bit like a large, foldable iPad. 

Alternatively, Apple might add an OLED screen to the MacBook before launching the all-screen foldable MacBook. This route would include a more conventional MacBook design, but with one key difference. 

According to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman, Apple is planning to make the MacBook thinner like it did with the iPad Pro M4. Of course, the iPad Air has always been thin (as Steve Jobs famously demonstrated by pulling it out of an envelope on stage). However, we could soon see the MacBook get even thinner, including the MacBook Pro. Apple could duplicate its design update for the iPad Pro M4 and unveil a MacBook Pro with both an OLED display and a new ultra-thin design. 

OLED MacBook: Price

Apple MacBook Air M3 (2024)

(Image credit: Apple)

It's difficult to predict Apple's pricing for the OLED MacBook since it's still unclear which Mac Apple will use OLED in first. However, it's a pretty safe bet that the MacBook Pro will be the first model to get an OLED display, which gives us an idea of how much it might cost. 

The MacBook Pro M3 starts at $1599 for the base 14-inch model or $2499 for the base 16-inch model. So, that is most likely the least the OLED MacBook could cost. It will likely be more expensive than the current MacBook Pros, though, due to the premium display. 

In fact, Apple increased the price of the iPad Pro when it made the jump to OLED. The 12.9-inch iPad Pro M2 started at $1099 but the 13-inch iPad Pro M4 starts at $1299. We will likely see a similar price bump on the OLED MacBook Pro, especially if it gets a thinner, redesigned chassis. 

OLED MacBook: Features

Screenshots from WWDC 2024 keynote

(Image credit: Apple)

Based on the predicted announcement window of late 2025 or early 2026, the OLED MacBook will most likely include an M6 chip. Since the MacBook Pro will probably get an OLED display first, it will likely be paired with a Pro or Max chip. However, if it gets delayed or Apple simply pushes back the release date, the OLED MacBook might end up launching with M7 or even M8 processor. 

While it's tough to predict the performance and features of those chips right now, there's a good chance they will support impressive on-device AI capabilities. Apple has been steadily increasing the AI processing power on its M-series chips and finally announced its own AI platform at WWDC 2024, known as "Apple Intelligence." 

Apple Intelligence is still going to be a beta feature when it launches, most likely later this year. It will take years for Apple to refine the tech and make it ubiquitous on Apple products. By the time the OLED MacBook becomes a reality, Apple Intelligence could be a more mature, fleshed-out AI platform. Apple will likely make strong NPU performance a priority to accommodate those next-gen AI features, particularly on a premium device like the OLED MacBook. 

Screenshots from WWDC 2024 keynote

(Image credit: Apple)

Another feature Apple could upgrade on the OLED MacBook is gaming performance. Custom Windows PCs are currently the gold standard for gaming, but Apple has been working to close the gap between MacBooks and Windows laptops. For instance, the M3 chips finally brought ray tracing support to the Mac. 

More high-profile games have been coming to the Mac over the last couple of years.  At WWDC 2024, Apple announced a new version of its Game Porting Toolkit, which helps developers easily port games from other platforms to macOS. So, Apple seems to be embracing gaming a bit more than it used to, which will hopefully help improve gaming on MacBooks. 

The M-series chips will likely only get better at gaming over the next few years. After all, what better way to show off a sharp, colorful OLED display than with some gaming? 

OLED MacBook: What's next?

The OLED MacBook could still be a long way off, but it's also possible Apple could announce it later next year. We'll know more as we get closer to that release date. However, it's clear Apple plans to dive into OLED since the iPad Pro M4 launched with a Tandem OLED display. It's only a matter of time before the MacBook gets a similar display upgrade. 

The MacBook Pro will most likely get an OLED display first with the rest of the Mac line-up to follow. We will be closely monitoring all the latest news and rumors about the OLED MacBook and Apple's upcoming M-series chips, so stay tuned for more details. 

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Stevie Bonifield
Freelance Writer

Stevie Bonifield is a freelance tech journalist specializing in keyboards, peripherals, gaming gear, and mobile tech. Outside of writing, Stevie loves indie games, photography, and building way too many custom keyboards