Analyst: Retina displays to add nearly $100 to Apple’s MacBook Pro costs

“Apple is said to be on the verge of rolling out new high-resolution displays for its computers that, up until now, have only been available on its iPhones and iPads. And those panels are already in the supply chain, an analyst told CNET,” Josh Lowensohn and Brooke Crothers report for CNET. “The feature, which could cost nearly $100 more than Apple currently spends, would make photos, applications, and text look sharper and clearer on Apple’s computers. The company pulled the same trick on its iPhones and iPods, and more recently on the iPad. Computers have been the one holdout, but that’s changing.”

Lowensohn and Crothers report, “NPD DisplaySearch Senior Analyst Richard Shim says that super high-resolution 13.3-inch and 15.4-inch panels that Apple would be a prime candidate to use are already available from suppliers… ‘What’s clear is that Apple’s pushing it. They’re pushing panel makers to come out with higher resolution panels because they’ve created a market demand for it, starting with their phones, now going to their tablets,’ Shim said. ‘Now what we’re seeing in the supply chain is that they’re going to move that to their notebooks, and it’s becoming a premium feature.'”

“What’s unclear is if consumers will end up paying more for the improvements,” Lowensohn and Crothers report. “When Apple made the jump to Retina Displays in its iOS devices, the cost of the device stayed the same. The scale was a bit smaller though. For instance, according to a bill of materials from IHS iSuppli, the price of the third-generation iPad’s display was $87 versus the iPad 2’s $57, just a $30 difference… Shim did not specify whether Sharp or its IGZO panels was one of the suppliers. Other candidates include Samsung and LG Display, according to sources familiar with supplier activity.”

Much more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: If true, Windows PCs are set to fall even further behind Apple’s state-of-the-art Macs – and very noticeably so. Just a quick glance is all it will take.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Lynn Weiler” for the heads up.]

Related articles:
Sharp’s IGZO display production issues forced Apple settle on Plan B for new iPad, says expert – May 7, 2012
Analyst: Retina display production issues persist for Apple iPad – April 23, 2012
Sharp announces production of world’s first IGZO LCD Panels – April 13, 2012
After using Apple’s new iPad with Retina display, old iPad screens become absolutely unacceptable – March 30, 2012
Apple ‘iTV’ beckons as jackpot in Hon Hai’s Sharp gamble – March 28, 2012
Foxconn-Sharp partnership likely targeting Apple orders – March 28, 2012
Taiwan Apple supplier Hon Hai becomes Sharp’s largest shareholder with 10% stake – March 28, 2012
Apple to unveil smaller 7.85-inch iPad this year, says anonymous Samsung official – March 13, 2012
Wow, Sharp sure is ramping up IGZO display production for some reason – March 2, 2012


  1. AZpple is said to be ready to release products that will be different than the products they currently have on sale. These products will introduce features that will be MARKEDLY DIFFERENT than the ones they replace. People will buy them because they will not be able to buy products that are discontinued and unavailable.

  2. I seriously doubt it. There were several crazy reports flying around that the new iPad cost would also go up because of the retina display… then it was announced at the SAME price points! I’m pretty sure the prices will stay the same.

    1. I think the article is referring to Apple’s costs, not the retail price. Apple will respond by a. offering the Retina screen as a for-cost option or b. absorbing the extra cost. Either way the base price of each model won’t change. (Also, if it’s a., they’ll make the Retina screen standard at no additional cost).

  3. For retina display on my MacBook pro… if $100 is a deal breaker, I’m buying the wrong computer to begin with.

    Heck I’ll wind up giving the State of California 3 times that in sales tax to be burned in some union pension fund.

    1. Sales tax in CA is 8.5%, which would only be $211 on a $1,799 purchase.

      Tea Party Math is hard. But then again nobody is forcing you to live in the state either.

      1. 8.5 percenter, your math ignored the real world fact that it’s easy to spec a MB Pro that would require a sales tax of more than $300.

        Mourn for California, once called the land of hope and glory. It once had a great educational system.

  4. The numbers shown are before Apple orders in quantities the manufacturer has ever seen before and before Tim Cook works his supply line magic. The Retina displays may in fact turn out to be more expensive for Apple but the difference will be much smaller than the author projects.

  5. I can’t wait for the knockoff version of these displays that will ship on PC Ultrabooks 3 years from now. Windows 9 should support it and they’ll call it something really catchy like “ClearType Xtreme Super Premium”

  6. When Apple went to the unibody design, it raised the cost of manufacturing, and Apple announced in its conference call that margins would drop based upon a new product, and that was the unibody. There was no hint of a new product dropping margins this quarter. Doesn’t meant there won’t be new products, just not ones that drop Apple’s margins.

    1. I remember Apple forecasting a margin drop just prior to the introduction of the original iPad. Said they wanted to meet a price point their competition couldn’t match for this new product. Turned out the competition couldn’t match the iPad price/performance, even now. But oddly, Apple’s margins went up after the iPad launch.

  7. I would imagine there are cost savings that can be drawn from other areas of manufacturing that can overcome this cost increase. Having the finest quality screen on a laptop is quite a feature to promote. However, if 90% of the buyers would have purchased a Mac laptop without the screen, the cost to attract the other 10% is roughly $300 per unit. Would Apple spend $300 to get a new customer. It’s expensive. But, I think they would do it drive share and lifetime customers. We all know the old adage “Once you’ve gone Mac, you don’t go back”.

  8. No optical drive should offset some of the cost. Lighter weight, thinner design, reduced packaging may help offset some costs, yeah, and buying in bulk may help too. They could also make it an option this year.

  9. More ANALyst rumor mongering. Notice the lack of details provided in this blether-fest:

    an analyst told CNET

    Like there’s anything reliable about ANALyst-Speak.

    The feature, which could cost nearly $100 more…

    WHICH Retina display is this ANALyst referring to? Small or wide viewing angle? Example: The iPhone has a wide viewing angle. The display is therefore more expensive than: The iPod Touch has a smaller viewing angle, a cheaper display.

    I’ll believe this stuff when I see it.

  10. Apple may initially have to eat a modest decrease in gross margin because of the new displays. But that will be moderated somewhat by Apple’s ability to issue firm contracts for millions of displays. Also, as the manufacturers ramp up production and hi-res displays become more commonplace, the price will drop. In addition, the hi-res displays will provide a key point of differentiation from competitor laptops. That is worth a few extra dollars in manufacturing costs, because it will be outweighed by increased sales and massive “free advertising” media attention.

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