Market Insight

[Display Dynamics] Apple to launch two more high-resolution MacBooks

March 22, 2018

David Hsieh David Hsieh Senior Director, Displays

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Key findings

  • The 13.3‑inch, 2560 × 1600, 16:10 aspect ratio display with 227 PPI and high brightness will be the most important display for the MacBook series.
  • Apple will release more 13.3‑inch notebooks to cover this segment.

As explained in “Challenge and opportunity for notebook display market,” slim design and low power consumption are important for the notebook PC display market. With advanced substrate technology like oxide and LTPS, the power consumption of LCD panels can be managed at a lower level. An IHS Markit survey shows the share of new technologies including oxide and LTPS grew from 3% in 2016 to 10% in 2017 and will continue to grow to 13% in 2018. This trend will be reflected in Apple’s MacBook reshuffle in 2018.

We expect Apple to make the following changes to its MacBook notebook series in 2018:

  • Stop producing low-resolution models.
  • Add more 13.3‑inch 2560 × 1600 (227 ppi) with lower power consumption and slim bezel to cover more segments.
  • In the long term, stop producing MacBook Pro and MacBook Air models that do not have the OLED touch bar and touch ID to encourage end-users to purchase the higher-end models with those features.
  • Consider ending production of the 12‑inch MacBook Air; replace it with 13.3‑inch 2560 × 1600.
  • Refresh some MacBook models with Intel’s Gen 9 CPU for lower power consumption.

The following figure shows our forecast for Apple’s MacBook display changes, with two new 13.3‑inch notebooks to reach every potential market segment.

We expect the following trends:

  • MacBook Pro 15‑inch Retina (15.4‑inch 2880 × 1800 with oxide IPS LCD panel from LG Display): Apple may reduce the retailer price to stimulate sales. It also wants to move the model toward end-of-life since it does not have OLED touch bar or touch ID; the goal is to encourage customers to move to higher-end models.
  • MacBook Pro 13‑inch Retina (13.3‑inch 2560 × 1600 with oxide IPS LCD panel from LG Display): Apple may reduce the retailer price to stimulate sales. It also wants to move the model toward end-of-life since it does not have OLED touch bar or touch ID; the goal is to encourage customers to move to higher-end models.
  • MacBook 12‑inch Retina (12‑inch 2304 × 1440 with a-Si IPS LCD panel from LG Display): Apple noticed that demand is not as good as expected. Considering screen size, it is comparatively a niche market for notebook PC users. Apple may consider replacing this model with a new 13.3‑inch model.
  • MacBook Air 13‑inch (13‑inch 1440 × 900 with a-Si TN LCD panel from LG Display): The display is not high resolution like Retina, and the market segment is too low. Apple might replace this model with a new 13.3‑inch high resolution model (2560 × 1600 with 227 ppi) supplied by BOE and LG Display.

In summary, Apple might launch two new 13.3‑inch 2560 × 1600 models, with and without OLED touch bar, both with high resolution Retina display. One is to replace the 12.0‑inch, and one is to upgrade the original 13.3‑inch 1440 × 900. These changes will happen from Q2 2018 to Q4 2018 and early 2019.

The following table summarizes MacBook notebook displays from 2018 to 2019.

 

Research by Market
Displays
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