Apple plans to release new iPad and MacBook models with OLED displays in 2022, according to industry sources cited by Taiwanese supply chain publication DigiTimes. The information was shared in the site's paywalled "Before Going to Press" section, so there are no further details yet, but the full report should be released by tomorrow.
Apple has gradually increased its adoption of OLED displays, starting with the Apple Watch in 2015. Two years later, the iPhone X became the first iPhone with an OLED display, and Apple has since expanded the display technology across the entire iPhone 12 lineup. OLED displays have several benefits over LCDs, including higher brightness, improved contrast with deeper blacks, wider viewing angles, and more.
Macs and iPads still use LCDs, perhaps due in part to large OLED displays being expensive to manufacture. High-end OLED TVs often cost thousands of dollars, for example, with LCD versions at equal screen sizes typically priced far cheaper.
In November, Korean website The Elec reported that Apple planned to release new iPad Pro models featuring OLED displays in the second half of 2021, and claimed that Samsung and LG were already in the process of developing the displays. However, this rumor was soon followed up by a research note from Barclays analysts that said an iPad with an OLED display does not appear to be in the works for this year.
In a research note shared with MacRumors in December, the Barclays analysts said an iPad with an OLED display is unlikely to launch until 2022 at the earliest, based on their conversations with Apple supplier sources in Asia.
Assuming that Apple actually plans to release iPad and MacBook models with OLED displays, 2022 certainly sounds like a more likely timeframe, as Apple is widely expected to release iPad and MacBook models with Mini-LED-backlit LCD displays this year, and it would certainly be quick for Apple to switch display technologies twice within the same year.
Given that Mini-LED backlit displays offer many of the same advantages as OLED, such as high brightness and high contrast, one possibility is that Apple will eventually use a mix of both display technologies across its iPad and Mac lineups based on price points.
Apple's exact plans remain to be seen, but there is mounting evidence that OLED displays will be involved in some capacity within the next year or two.