Apple Inc is designing and producing its own device displays

Steve Phelps
March 20, 2018

In late 2017, for the first time, engineers managed to produce fully functional MicroLED screens for future Apple Watches through which the company aims to manufacture new technology available first in its wearable computers.

Apple's ambition is to make in-house displays just like they have produced their own in-house chipset for the past several years.

It looks like Apple is already preparing to move on from OLED, with reports this week indicating that the company is already working on developing MicroLED screens.

Apple is reportedly developing MicroLED technology in an effort to replace Samsung's OLED displays in future devices.

A new secret facility that is near the company's headquarters is reportedly going to be making displays for Apple's products, but these will only be for testing purposes. The California facility is simply too small for mass-production, so it is likely Apple will outsource production. LG Displays makes Apple Watch screens at present.

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The displays based on the MicroLED technology are more complex to produce than the OLED displays, Bloomberg notes, adding that Apple nearly killed the project a year or so ago. Apple reportedly considered shutting down the project (known internally as T159) past year. In 2014, it acquired power efficient LED start-up LuxVue to drive research in the area.

The screen tech, called MicroLED, is similar to OLED in some respects (both don't require backlight and offer better contrast than LCDs) but has better brightness and consumes less energy.

Apple is done relying on Samsung, LG, and others for its displays. The goal: to eventually design screens in-house.

Many earlier reports have suggested that Apple wants to reduce its reliance on Samsung and third-party suppliers in general. Apple is still somewhere between three and five years out from bringing microLED to any of its devices. An additional 40-50 million 6.5-inch OLED panels will be procured by Apple for the production of a less expensive iPhone model.

Other tech companies looking at the technology include Taiwan's Hon Hai Precision Industry, Apple's main contract manufacturer. All these tiny LEDs must be individually manufactured and calibrated. The growing procedure is carried put inside a clean room at Santa Clara facility.

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