Samsung secures deal to supply OLED screens for MacBook Pro

Jul 10, 2023, 12:31 PM UTC
4 mins read
Samsung secures deal to supply OLED screens for MacBook Pro
(Photo by Bram Van Oost on Unsplash)

Samsung Display has announced its plans to manufacture cutting-edge OLED screens for the upcoming MacBook Pro by 2025, outpacing its rivals by at least a year. This unexpected move showcases Samsung’s determination to lead the market in the production of eighth-generation (Gen 8) OLED displays, despite the significant challenges and costs associated with their manufacturing. As the demand for high-quality displays with improved energy efficiency and variable refresh rates continues to rise, Samsung’s investment positions it at the forefront of screen technology innovation. While LG Display and BOE may eventually follow suit, Samsung’s early strides in this direction offer a promising future for MacBook Pro users and reinforce the company’s commitment to providing exceptional display solutions.

Gen 8 OLED screens have emerged as a game-changer in the display industry, delivering superior visual performance and reduced power consumption, thereby optimizing battery life. However, their manufacturing process for larger screens has proven to be arduous and expensive. Setting up production lines for Gen 8 OLED displays requires massive investments amounting to billions of dollars and a considerable amount of time. Consequently, manufacturers have been cautious about investing in this technology, hesitant to take on the financial risks.

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Reports from Mac 2023 revealed that screen manufacturers had growing apprehensions about the number of screens Apple would order and the associated costs. With declining Mac sales, uncertainties arose regarding Apple’s purchasing decisions and the prices they would be willing to pay for OLED screens. These concerns further contributed to the hesitancy among manufacturers to invest in Gen 8 OLED technology.

Breaking away from the cautious approach of its competitors, Samsung Display has taken the bold step of investing in Gen 8 OLED technology. The Elec reports (via AppleInsider) that Samsung has already initiated the process of acquiring the necessary manufacturing equipment, signaling its commitment to lead the industry in OLED production. While Samsung expects to begin production of Gen 8 OLED screens between mid-2025 and mid-2026, the installation and optimization of manufacturing lines generally require around a year. This timeframe puts Samsung ahead of the curve, setting the stage for a remarkable accomplishment in display technology.

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While Samsung Display leaps forward, its competitors, LG Display and BOE face their own challenges in embracing Gen 8 OLED manufacturing. LG Display, still recovering from losses incurred during its transition from LCD to OLED, has not yet procured the necessary equipment for Gen 8 OLED production. On the other hand, BOE is currently grappling with difficulties in manufacturing iPhone screens. Consequently, The Elec predicts that LG Display will be at least a year behind Samsung Display in entering the Gen 8 OLED market. Nevertheless, industry experts, such as UBI Research’s Choong Hoon Yi, affirm that Apple is likely to secure orders from LG Display, while BOE’s prospects remain uncertain.

Currently, manufacturers predominantly produce Gen 6 OLED screens for devices like the iPhone. The sheets for eighth-generation displays are larger, measuring 2200x2500mm compared to 1500x1850mm for the sixth-generation. The larger initial sheet size of Gen 8 OLEDs allows for the creation of more MacBook Pro-sized displays, optimizing production efficiency and meeting the growing demand for premium display panels.

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The Elec‘s recent report contradicts speculations that Apple’s manufacturing challenges with Gen 8 OLED screens would push the release of a MacBook Pro with such a display to 2027.

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