Apple secretly developing its own screens

Yolanda Curtis
March 19, 2018

But where MicroLED goes one step further is that by swapping out the organic emissive layer (the part of the screen that produces lights) in OLED screens for one using gallium nitride (an inorganic material), MicroLED screens can be brighter, less prone to burn-in, and last longer than traditional OLED displays.

People familiar with the situation claim that Apple Inc is designing its own screen displays in a secret plant in California.

The fact that Apple is interested in MicroLED isn't new; the company acquired MicroLED developer LuxVue in May 2014.

It's unclear at this point when MicroLED could come to some of Apple's devices. Guess it's high time for them to be going en route with this plan since their screen panels are provided by Samsung, Sharp, LG and Japan Display for all this while. For an entire year, Apple has shut down a project and engineers since then have worked very hard on the technology. The source said that the purchase of OLED panels in 2018 would correspond to different variants of the iPhone. The remaining 60 to 70 million units of LTPS displays will be purchased for the 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch iPhone 8, 7 and SE, as per the source.

None of this will be easy. Getting into the business of screen manufacturing will require significant capital and investment in manufacturing equipment. It is an expensive endeavor.

Assuming Apple's microLED designs work out, the company will likely farm out the production to its manufacturing partners to scale up volume. The company is now building engineering samples at a plant in California, but this is considered too small for the commercial manufacturing of the panels.

They claim that it got to a point where Apple nearly panned the project a year ago.

An Apple spokeswoman declined to comment. However, Apple released the other company from the partnership for failing to improve the technology.

Many people are pegging micro LED as the next major display architecture that will supplant the OLED screens now found in many flagship mobile devices. Ditto for Google's larger Pixel phone.

The displays, known as MicroLED, will become both the first in-house manufactured screens from the company and also its next generation displays, replacing the existing OLED devices.

Smartphone manufacturers design screens according to their specifications.

But this marks the first time Apple is designing screens end-to-end itself. The report says Apple Watch would receive the new displays first, followed by iPhone, but the advancements are still likely years away. The latest MicroLED Apple Watch is not fully functional wearable until the screen portion is connected to an external computer board.

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