Apple is developing it’s own MicroLED displays for future devices

Reportedly, Apple has a secret testing facility in Santa Clara, California, where it is designing and producing test samples of its own displays. According to a report by Bloomberg, the company is using MicroLED technology in an effort to replace Samsung’s OLED displays in future Apple devices.

“The technology giant is making a significant investment in the development of next-generation MicroLED screens, say the people, who requested anonymity to discuss internal planning. MicroLED screens use different light-emitting compounds than the current OLED displays and promise to make future gadgets slimmer, brighter and less power-hungry.”

Apple’s desire to expand its supply chain beyond Samsung has been extensively rumored with the company reportedly spending billions of dollars to help LG get its own OLED production up to speed. LG displays are said to be making their way to this year’s iPhone X Plus devices.

Beyond OLED, many believe MicroLED will be the next display technology to appear in mobile devices. Apple’s interest in this technology dates as far back as 2014 when the company acquired the MicroLED firm LuxVue. The company has apparently been working to bring MicroLED to the Apple Watch with these rumors pointing to as soon as this year.

However, Bloomberg’s most recent report suggests that it’s likely to be a few years before Apple brings MicroLED to shipping products, perhaps two years for the Apple Watch and three to five years for the iPhone. After that, Apple may outsource full-scale production of the displays.

“The California facility is too small for mass-production, but the company wants to keep the proprietary technology away from its partners as long as possible, one of the people says. ‘We put a lot of money into the facility,” this person says. “It’s big enough to get through the engineering builds [and] lets us keep everything in-house during the development stages.'” 

Apple had also reportedly been working on MicroLED display technology at an R&D center in Taiwan but late last year it was reported that efforts had been scaled back at the center. In light of these recent events, it seems a lot more likely that Apple will concentrate its efforts at a facility closer to its headquarters.


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