Apple Re-Aligning MacBook Panel Supply

IHS said in its blog that Apple will maintain sales of the existing ‘legacy’ MacBook Pro for those that cannot afford to upgrade to the new version, which has a touch OLED bar and Type-C connectivity. Some of the extra cost is because of the extra peripherals needed to get the connectors that most users want. There is also a version of the unit without the bar.

However, IHS believes that Apple will phase out the 11.6″ MacBook Air and that may see some customers may move to the 13.3″ version of the Air, or the 12.0″ MacBook. IHS expects Air panel procurement to drop from 6 million to less than 3 million.

Apple is said to be being cautious about production while it gets to understand the level of demand. On the supply side, IHS said that Samsung is discontinuing its production of TN-based panels for notebooks. These remain available from BOE, which is a qualified supplier for Apple.

Total panel purchases for the MacBook Pro on both new and old models are expected to grow from 8.8 million units this year to 9.7 million units in 2017.

Overall, total panel purchasing by Apple is expected to fall to 13.6 million units in 2017, down a sharp 19% from 16.2 million units in 2016. Samsung Display rival, LG Display, is likely to remain the primary supplier to Apple, said David Hsieh of IHS.