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Apple Developing Its Own MicroLED Displays for Future Devices

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Apple has a secret manufacturing facility in Santa Clara, California, where it is designing and producing test samples of its own displays, reports Bloomberg. The company is reportedly using MicroLED technology in an effort to replace Samsung's OLED displays in future devices.

Apple's MicroLED facility in Santa Clara (Bloomberg)
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. MicroLED screens use different light-emitting compounds than the current OLED displays and promise to make future gadgets slimmer, brighter and less power-hungry.
Apple's desire to expand its supply chain beyond Samsung has been extensively rumored, with Apple reportedly spending billions of dollars to help LG get its own OLED production up to speed and LG displays rumored to be making their way into this year's "iPhone X Plus" device.

Looking beyond OLED, many believe MicroLED will be the next display technology to appear in mobile devices, and Apple's interest in the technology was revealed in its acquisition of MicroLED firm LuxVue back in 2014. Apple has reportedly been working to first bring MicroLED to the Apple Watch, with some rumors pointing to that happening as soon as this year.

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. Apple will likely also outsource full-scale production of the displays.
The California facility is too small for mass-production, but the company wants to keep the proprietary technology away from its partners as long as possible, one of the people says. "We put a lot of money into the facility," this person says. "It's big enough to get through the engineering builds [and] lets us keep everything in-house during the development stages."
Apple had reportedly been working on MicroLED display technology at an R&D center in Taiwan, but late last year the company was reported to have scaled back its efforts at that center. In light of today's news, it's possible Apple elected to concentrate its efforts at a facility closer to its headquarters.

Article Link: Apple Developing Its Own MicroLED Displays for Future Devices
 

SuprUsrStan

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Apr 15, 2010
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Yeah but can microLED individually turn off per pixel, offering extreme contrast and crushing deep blacks?
 

Glockworkorange

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Apple has a secret manufacturing facility in Santa Clara, California, where it is designing and producing test samples of its own displays, reports Bloomberg. The company is reportedly using MicroLED technology in an effort to replace Samsung's OLED displays in future devices.


Apple's MicroLED facility in Santa Clara (Bloomberg)
Apple's desire to expand its supply chain beyond Samsung has been extensively rumored, with Apple reportedly spending billions of dollars to help LG get its own OLED production up to speed and LG displays rumored to be making their way into this year's "iPhone X Plus" device.

Looking beyond OLED, many believe MicroLED will be the next display technology to appear in mobile devices, and Apple's interest in the technology was revealed in its acquisition of MicroLED firm LuxVue back in 2014. Apple has reportedly been working to first bring MicroLED to the Apple Watch, with some rumors pointing to that happening as soon as this year.

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. Apple will likely also outsource full-scale production of the displays.Apple had reportedly been working on MicroLED display technology at an R&D center in Taiwan, but late last year the company was reported to have scaled back its efforts at that center. In light of today's news, it's possible Apple elected to concentrate its efforts at a facility closer to its headquarters.

Article Link: Apple Developing Its Own MicroLED Displays for Future Devices
Makes sense. Control the whole stack. Is screen tech the last major hurdle for them to control the whole thing?
 

TheGoog

macrumors member
Jul 11, 2008
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Expect to see more of this. Apple's competitive advantage will increasingly be hardware-based and in order to maintain that advantage they need to develop hardware that their rivals can't copy.

Except Samsung have a head start on MicroLED. They showed off a 146” MicroLED TV this year and have reported to have their mobile screen variations well under development.

Given Samsung’s history of pushing display technologies in the mobile space well before others, I wouldn’t be surprised to see MicroLED in a Galaxy device first. After that it will be the usual pissing match of who does it better.
 

smallcoffee

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Oct 15, 2014
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Except Samsung have a head start on MicroLED. They showed off a 146” MicroLED TV this year and have reported to have their mobile screen variations well under development.

Given Samsung’s history of pushing display technologies in the mobile space well before others, I wouldn’t be surprised to see MicroLED in a Galaxy device first. After that it will be the usual pissing match of who does it better.

Maybe in this particular instance, but my larger point was to expect to see this continue. Apple has a lead in other hardware areas (cameras and A-series processors come to mind along with increased emphasis on chips that specialize in computations focused on ML).
 

Morgenland

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May 28, 2009
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Yeah but can microLED individually turn off per pixel, offering extreme contrast and crushing deep blacks?

Yes, all these advantages. And in addition, a modified pixel arrangement for more detailed contour display and best battery utilization and (which is why Appe hesitated for a long time with OLEDs) brilliant color fidelity.
 

Keirasplace

macrumors 601
Aug 6, 2014
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Except Samsung have a head start on MicroLED. They showed off a 146” MicroLED TV this year and have reported to have their mobile screen variations well under development.

Given Samsung’s history of pushing display technologies in the mobile space well before others, I wouldn’t be surprised to see MicroLED in a Galaxy device first. After that it will be the usual pissing match of who does it better.

It wasn't really microled, why? because it was 146 fracking inches. Got that. Samsung was blowing smoke.
a microled display would have been 14 inch with the same resolution.
Yeah, Samsung are bS artists.
 

I7guy

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Nov 30, 2013
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Gotta be in it to win it
Seems like the facility is not so secret anymore. But this is interesting news. Wonder if this will cut out the asian supply chain, corporate leakers, from at least this effort?
 
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Heineken

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Except Samsung have a head start on MicroLED. They showed off a 146” MicroLED TV this year and have reported to have their mobile screen variations well under development.

Given Samsung’s history of pushing display technologies in the mobile space well before others, I wouldn’t be surprised to see MicroLED in a Galaxy device first. After that it will be the usual pissing match of who does it better.
Apple didn't start working on it yesterday you know?
 

Apple_Robert

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Sep 21, 2012
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In the middle of several books.
But who's gonna manufacture it on a large scale? Is Apple finally prepared to actually build a factory to build a part of their devices?

All the billions in the world, yet they still rely on others making parts.
Excellent question. I would like to see Apple bring back jobs to the U.S. I am not going to hold my breath.
 

69Mustang

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Jan 7, 2014
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In between a rock and a hard place
But who's gonna manufacture it on a large scale? Is Apple finally prepared to actually build a factory to build a part of their devices?

All the billions in the world, yet they still rely on others making parts.
Contract manufacturing is about maximizing profits. There's no financial advantage for Apple manufacturing anything. There are many disadvantages. Manufacturing is cost intensive.
 

BaltimoreMediaBlog

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Jul 30, 2015
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Contract manufacturing is about maximizing profits. There's no financial advantage for Apple manufacturing anything. There are many disadvantages. Manufacturing is cost intensive.

That's historically been true, but Asian car companies are now making cars in America more than not. Today's automation and tax changes in the U.S. now make that something to lookin into at least. Doesn't mean Apple won't ultimately subcontract the technology out to Asia, but it doesn't mean they won't start here.

But with many Apple rumored advances, I cannot help but remember the Sapphire Glass debacle. That sure didn't work out well for anybody.
 

HiVolt

macrumors 6502a
Sep 29, 2008
741
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Toronto, Canada
Contract manufacturing is about maximizing profits. There's no financial advantage for Apple manufacturing anything. There are many disadvantages. Manufacturing is cost intensive.

Thats fine, but that's all they do, is profit profit profit... Yeah, I realize its what the shareholders want, but Apple should aspire to have a little independence from its suppliers.

I still wonder why Samsung didn't cut off Apple's supply of ARM chips they were producing for them, when Apple sued them. That would have crippled Apple bigtime, even though they would have sued Samsung for it... But it would have taught them a lesson, don't bite the hand that feeds you, even though they are your biggest rival.
 
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