Apple is reportedly testing a different type of display called OLED for upcoming MacBook Pros that’s thinner, brighter, looks better, and could use less battery power than the current LCD displays, according to Korean news site ET News on Tuesday.
Apple currently uses OLED displays on the Apple Watch and the Touch Bar on the new MacBooks Pros, and considering the benefits of OLED, it’s not surprising that Apple is looking into it.
OLED displays can be even thinner than the LCD displays currently used in the MacBook Pro, which lines up nicely with Apple’s apparent goal to make products as thin as possible. A thinner MacBook Pro display would also look striking, as the new MacBook Pros already have incredibly thin displays.
Overall, OLED displays also look better than LCD displays, as they produce richer colours, including black. In the picture below, both the iPhone 6s (LCD) and the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 (AMOLED, a variety of OLED) are displaying the same image of black at their highest brightness settings. It’s clear that the Note 5’s OLED-style display produces a better black, which gives more contrast to what’s displayed on the screen.
Another benefit with OLED displays is they can potentially use less power than LCD displays, and therefore offer MacBook Pros with better battery life.
I say “potentially” because it depends on whether you’re displaying brighter or darker elements on the screen. With brighter elements, an OLED display is shining several thousands of tiny LED lights, which consumes more power. If you’re displaying darker elements, those tiny LED lights don’t shine as brightly, and even turn off entirely when displaying black, which doesn’t use up as much power.
This is partly why the watchOS operating system on the Apple Watch has a mostly dark/black theme, as the majority of the display is actually off, which saves on battery. It’s likely that the Apple Watch’s battery life would suffer if it had an LCD display.
It’s not clear when MacBooks with OLED displays will be released, if at all, as the report is still considered a rumour at this point.
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