Apple is now turning a new chapter and is working towards being a little more self-reliant. The Cupertino firm for the first-time-ever will manufacture its own Micro LED displays for its array of small screen devices like iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch.
As reported by Bloomberg, Apple Engineers is using a secret facility in California to design and manufacture prototypes of MicroLED screens. Moreover, it is said that the company has successfully implemented the technology on its Apple Watch-sized screen. This will ensure that the company will be able to end its reliance on third-party vendors.
Currently, Apple products rely on the display technology provided by its arch-rival LG and Samsung who have an extensive control over the industry’s OLED panels. The Apple Watch has the display manufactured by LG whereas the iPhone X has the Samsung-developed display.
MicroLED Display vs OLED Display
Apple’s ambitious plan to manufacture its own in-house displays started with the takeover of LuxVue in 2014 that was working on low-power MicroLED display technology. The new technology is similar to OLED panel that uses “emissive display” technology where each pixel lights up separately, instead of the primary light source being a backlight (as is the case with current LED and LCD panels).
However, the catch here is that the MicroLED displays are brighter than OLED panels, doesn’t suffer from burn-ins and built from an inorganic material (gallium nitride) as compared to OLED’s organic material.
Only once we have seen the MicroLED display at work and that too on Samsung’s 146-inch display TV, The Wall – launched at CES 2018. Having said that, substantially reducing the size of the display will be the task at hand for Apple as it will require new technology and thorough testing – before the panels are fit for commercial use.
If Apple is able to master the design of new MicroLED technology it would be the first time that it will be manufacturing screens “end-to-end.” Meanwhile, there are reports that just like the custom-designed processors used in iPhones, Apple will likely have third-party players build the actual displays for them.
As soon as the news of Apple MicroLED news broke out the shares of other dominant display makers fell sharply. Japan Display went down by 4.4 percent, Sharp’s by 3.3 percent and Samsung tumbled by 1.4 percent.