Apple is Secretly testing its own MicroLED Screens

Posted March 20, 2018

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. For several years, the company has been designing chips powering its in-house mobile devices. Apple almost gave up in developing a MicroLED display but is now in an advanced stage of development, says Bloomberg.

Apple has made remarkable breakthroughs with this technology, and over the past 3 years, it has managed to build prototypes for testing with microLED screens, something that did not seem possible a year ago. And its new secret project could send shivers down the spine of the rest of the industry. Bloomberg reports the company's now laying the groundwork to produce its own displays. By the time the technology will gain traction in the market, some other might supplant it.

In 2014 Apple had acquired LuxVue, a company that was working on bringing MicroLED technology mainstream. Apple's facility in California is too small for mass-production, so ultimately it may have no choice but to outsource production. This news has stirred quite a storm in the Display Market leaving Samsung, LG to companies like Synaptics quite anxious. The iPhone X, Apple's first OLED phone, uses Samsung technology.

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For now, the company is only working on displays for the Apple Watch but if things work out, we may see Apple making screens for its much popular products like the iPhone, the Mac, and the iPad in the future. The facility also consists of a special area for the intricate procedure of growing LEDs.

The report also mentions of another facility that houses technology that handles LED-transfers, a process in which individual pixels are placed into a microLED screen. The finer level of control over different colors offers engineers ability to design efficiently. However, Bloomberg says, manufacturing is likely to move out of the current facility if the MicroLED project becomes commercialized further. However, the company apparently wants to rely less on third-party manufacturers.