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Tuesday, June 12, 2012, 11:15 pm PT (02:15 am ET)

Apple rumored to pay at least $150 for MacBook Pro Retina Display panels

Competing notebook makers are reportedly looking to follow in Apple's footsteps by releasing their own high-resolution laptops, but pricing could pose a significant obstacle, as the Mac maker is rumored to pay at least $150 per unit for the Retina Display found in its MacBook Pro.

After Apple on Monday released a completely-redesigned 15-inch MacBook Pro with a 2,880-by-1,800-pixel Retina Display, sales of the laptop quickly took off, with the company's shipping estimates slipping to three to four weeks on Tuesday.

The early success of the MacBook Pro will likely come as a relief to display panel makers looking to increase profits by selling higher-resolution notebook screens. If, as it appears set to do, the Retina Display-equipped MacBook Pro becomes a hit, it could play a part in convincing other notebook makers to transition to higher-resolution panels.

Apple's role in the industry has sometimes been characterized as the one who tests the waters for new technologies and features while more risk-averse companies prefer to wait and see how Apple fares before following suit. For instance, the company has gradually been rolling out Retina Displays, its marketing term for screens with sufficiently dense resolutions for the pixels to be indistinguishable to the human eye from the standard viewing distance, across its line of products. The iPhone 4 was the first of Apple's products to bear the Retina Display moniker, followed by the iPod touch, the iPad and now the Macbook Pro.

MacBook Pro


Adding a Retina Display to the MacBook Pro doesn't appear to come cheap though, if a new report is to be believed. Taiwanese industry publication DigiTimes reported on Wednesday that, according to industry sources, the new display is likely to cost "above $150 per unit" from alleged suppliers Samsung and LG Display. By comparison, panel makers reportedly told the publication that the average price of 13- to 15-inch HD notebook panels is $40 to $45, while "Full HD IPS panels" supplied to Asustek are rumored to cost around $90 to $100 a unit.

Apple is definitely an early-mover in the high-resolution laptop space. According to the publication's research, less than 2 percent of global notebook panel shipments will have "resolution of Full HD or above" in the first half of this year. Those numbers are expected to change, however.

"Panel makers expect increasing demand for high resolution panels as non-Apple firms will likely follow suit in introducing similar products," the report read.