Apple has started development on a MacBook Air with an OLED display. That means gorgeous color, deep contrast and an all round beautiful window into your work — but there are a couple of catches you should know about.
Firstly, as we reported towards the end of last year, both The Elec and display analyst Ross Young report that we won’t see this new MacBook Air until 2024 (at least). And second, this OLED panel will actually be smaller than the current Air’s screen size.
So, this all started with reports that Apple is working with LG Display to bring OLED to the next generation 11 and 13-inch iPad Pros. The company wanted to go further, but LG lacks the manufacturing capacity for a MacBook Air, which has led to Samsung Display picking up the contract.
The purported screen size is set to be 13.4-inches, which is slightly smaller than the current M2 MacBook Air’s 13.6-inch display. That’s not necessarily a huge difference, and if anything, could lead to a smaller, more svelte Air (as if it needed to be any more sleek).
Now, you don’t need me to tell you about the benefits of OLED — from perfect blacks and an infinite contrast ratio, to improved power efficiency and more expressive color. But if what Young said in December is true, we’re getting a whole lot more too.
The reported “double-stack” OLED screens are also set to come armed with ProMotion. This adaptive refresh rate up to 120Hz has been limited to the 14-inch MacBook Pro and 16-inch MacBook Pro models so far, but to see it migrate to the Air would be a huge evolution.
All of these changes come at a big time for the MacBook Air, as we are on the precipice of a new 15-inch Air being announced. Plus, it’s worth noting that Young did address the MacBook Pro getting OLED technology by saying you won’t see it adopt the new displays until 2026. This is when Apple expects the supply chain to have enough OLED capacity to make the jump.
Now, one of the main questions on the lips of MacBook Air fans and potential buyers is simple: should you wait for the OLED model? Should you skip the heavily rumored M3 models (13 and 15-inch) potentially coming to WWDC? Honestly, that’s going to be up to how highly you value this display tech.
Because for most people, IPS is going to be fine. But there’s no denying the crispiness, the deep contrast and voluptuous colors of OLED. Given we’re on an annual chip upgrade cycle with Apple silicon too, you can expect to see M4 drop with this too.
But as M3 makes the jump to the 3nm process, I can see the performance gains only being minor. So if you’re keen to grab an Air sooner rather than later, I’d see no harm in holding off until June to pick up the latest and greatest — rather than waiting over a year.
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Jason brought a decade of tech and gaming journalism experience to his role as a writer at Laptop Mag, and he is now the Managing Editor of Computing at Tom's Guide. He takes a particular interest in writing articles and creating videos about laptops, headphones and games. He has previously written for Kotaku, Stuff and BBC Science Focus. In his spare time, you'll find Jason looking for good dogs to pet or thinking about eating pizza if he isn't already.