In 2014, Apple had acquired LuxVue, a company that was working on bringing MicroLED technology mainstream. A recent report by Bloomberg mentions that Apple is about to make a “significant investment” in the new technology and is likely to use the same in the future iPhones and Apple Watches.
Apple has already started using OLED for iPhone X and the Apple Watch. MicroLED is regarded as the fourth generation of flat panel display that will succeed LCD and OLED. The MicroLED displays will not require a backlight and thus these end up offering a better contrast ratio while keeping the power consumption in check. However, the microLED technology is yet to enter a mass production phase and the thing that is stopping it is quite a bummer. The microLED displays need to be assembled one sub-pixel at a time and this manufacturing caveat is yet to be worked out.
Meanwhile, the rumor mills have been ablaze with the possibility that Apple has already tested the MicroLED prototype in its watch model. Codenamed “T159” the project included Engineers who work out of a manufacturing facility in Santa Clara. That being said, Apple might still rely on its suppliers for the displays but the dependency will be greatly reduced once the MicroLED panels make it to the mass production.
At this juncture, the Bloomberg report outlines that Apple is producing a limited quantity of screens for testing. It also mentions the intricacies associated with MicroLED production and the fact that it is harder to manufacture as opposed to OLED.
Industry Reacts Sharply
The news that Apple is going to start producing its own screens has given a jolt to the industry. The shares of several Apple suppliers have taken a plunge. For instance, LG Display shares tanked by 0.89 percent while that of the Sharp declined further by 2.57 percent. That apart, the iPhone and the iPad touch displays are sourced from Sharp and LG. If Apple’s MicroLED makes it to mass production, companies like Samsung, LG and Sharp will lose a large chunk of their business.