Apple secretly developing its own screens

Adjust Comment Print

For years now, Apple has been manufacturing its own processors for mobiles and for the most part, Apple A series of chips have outsmarted the chipsets from Qualcomm and MediaTek. We have just heard that the company is working to manufacture its own microLED displays which will be superior to the OLED panels.

The technology giant is investing heavily in a new kind of display, dubbed MicroLED, and is producing early-stage prototypes at a secretive, 62,000-square-foot manufacturing facility located close to its headquarters in Santa Clara, California. 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.

As CNBC reports, shares in a range of Apple suppliers fell after Bloomberg's article went live.

The making of own screens by Apple has hurt the suppliers like Samsung Electronics Co., Japan Display Inc., Sharp Corp, and LG Display Co.


Bloomberg's report suggests, however, that it will likely be a few years until Apple's MicroLED displays will appear in shipping products, perhaps two years for the Apple Watch and three to five years for the iPhone.

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. Last year, we saw the iPhone X delay a little due to some production issues. In 2014, it acquired power efficient LED start-up LuxVue to drive research in the area. The MicroLED screens are brighter than the screens of the OLED displays.

Apple is done relying on Samsung, LG, and others for its displays. Chief Executive Officer at DisplayMate Technologies, Beam Soneira said, "Everybody can purchase an OLED or LCD screen", he says. Mass production of screen requires new manufacturing equipment. Ray Soneira, who runs screen tester DisplayMate Technologies, says bringing the design in-house is a "golden opportunity" for Apple.

Previously, there have been reports on Apple's intentions to expand its supply sources beyond Samsung. Each pixel has sub-pixels such as red, blue and green.

Comments