Apple is apparently designing and preparing to manufacture its own range of MicroLED screens at a secret facility in California.
According to a report from Bloomberg, the American tech giant is developing prototype mini displays which could eventually be used in future models of the Apple Watch.
For the past few years, Apple has has been buying OLED screens from LG Display. However, the company apparently wants to rely less on third-party manufacturers.
MicroLED is a type of emissive display technology that’s similar to OLED in several ways. For instance, every pixel produces its own source of light, instead of utilising a backlighting panel. This technology is newer and more complex compared to OLED, but tech pundits believe that it offers better contrast and viewing angles. It doesn’t use as much power, too.
The iPhone maker isn’t exactly new to the MicroLED technology scene. In 2014, it acquired power efficient LED start-up LuxVue to drive research in the area.
And in 2017, rumours began circulating that Apple would use MicroLED in the Apple Watch. Apparently, it’s been working with a manufacturing company in Taiwan to research these screens.
Sources familiar with the situation admitted that Apple has run into a plethora of obstacles when developing the screens, mainly because they’re more complicated to make than OLED screens.
They claim that it got to a point where Apple almost panned the project a year ago. However, it’s since overcome these challenges and invested more money into the project.
Famed Apple critic and Bloomberg tech reporter Mark Gurman described the project as an “ambitious undertaking” and said it is “the latest example of Apple bringing the design of key components in-house.”
Like Apple, Samsung has also been developing MicroLED displays for a while now. At the start of the year, it unveiled a 146-inch television that sports the technology.
Gurman believes that Apple’s plans will help boost its grip on the technology market, but they will threaten companies such as Samsung and Sharp.
He wrote: “The company has designed chips powering its mobile devices for several years. Its move into displays has the long-term potential to hurt a range of suppliers.”
As CNBC reports, shares in a range of Apple suppliers fell after Bloomberg’s article went live. Samsung shares decreased by 0.51 percent, Sharp by 2.57 percent and Japan Display by 1.45 percent.