Apple will produce its own MicroLED screens


Image: Compound Photonics / Plessey

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According to Bloomberg, Apple is working on producing its own MicroLED displays, which could benefit many Apple products in the future.

A week ago, Apple Bloomberg reporter Mark Gurman clarified that 2023 will be the year of the Apple Reality XR headset, which should finally appear after several delays. Apple would likely unveil the headset in the spring ahead of the WWDC developer conference this summer.

In another report and newsletter, “Power On,” Gurman followed up with a forecast of potential benefits for other Apple devices. According to the report, Apple plans to develop its own MicroLED displays.

Apple displays for XR headsets?

Instead of depending on suppliers like Samsung or LG, Apple could install its own screens in its devices as early as next year. Six years after the start of the development of the secret project “T159”, the company approaches the launch of the resulting MicroLED displays.

According to Gurman, they should first appear in a new high-end smartwatch model “Apple Watch Ultra” at the end of 2024, in which the screens are already tested. Later, he expects them to be integrated into the iPhone. One day iPads and iMacs may follow.

An external supplier would presumably be responsible for mass production. The switch to MicroLED was planned for 2020, but technical and financial obstacles have delayed this deployment.

Apple’s new MicroLED displays are brighter, have better color reproduction, and can be used from wider viewing angles. The latter in particular makes the image look like it’s painted on glass, according to Gurman’s sources. A slim design and low power consumption could bring further benefits to future XR headsets.

MicroLED Problems and Opportunities

South Korean supplier LG could lose a major customer for its OLED screens following Apple’s decision. Apple orders account for 36% of LG Display’s revenue, according to a Bloomberg analysis. For Samsung, it’s only 6.6% of sales.

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Ein Renderbild einer möglichen Apple-AR-VR-Brille

Apple’s first XR headphones are not yet expected to benefit from internal microOLED displays, as they will be released as early as 2023, according to reports. | Image: Ian Zelbo (conceptual rendering)

As early as 2010, mobile chip design brought custom Apple hardware that often outperformed Android competitors. Starting in 2020, Mac computers also moved to Arm-based in-house chip systems (M-series) – currently, with the recently announced M2 Pro and M2 Max variants for MacBook Pro and Mac mini.

Internal displays should also bring more control over hardware design and functions. Later, it may also help Apple open up new areas of the XR industry.

MicroLED is touted as the display technology of the future, especially in the field of augmented reality. In terms of pixel density, brightness, contrast, efficiency, response time, footprint and lifespan, they outperform LC displays and OLED micro displays. Besides Google and Meta, Apple has already acquired specialists in this field (LuxVue).

Until recently, the tiny dimensions of individual pixels resulted in high production costs and error control issues for MicroLED fabrication. A technical breakthrough in problematic green pixels may provide a remedy in the future. In December 2022, the MicroLED Alliance introduced a new generation of the technology, said to offer better colors, brightness and power consumption.

Apple wants even more hardware control

Gurman also mentions Apple’s efforts to break free in other areas. Mobile modems, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth modules are to be manufactured by Apple itself in the future.

The report gives the next few years as an approximate timeline. This would allow Apple to innovate faster instead of competing with competitors like Samsung for components.


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