Apple advances in the manufacture of its own microLED screens
Apple continues to work on its own microLED displays and its goal of reducing its reliance on vendor partners like Samsung
Apple is advancing in the production of its own screens and in its intention to reduce its dependence on supplier partners such as Samsung by betting on microLED technology, where it has already invested “at least a billion dollars in R&D” in the last ten years.
The company led by Tim Cook aims to manufacture its own components and reduce its dependence on other companies to have more control over its products. In this sense, it has already started a process to produce self-developed WiFi, Bluetooth and modem chips, replacing manufacturers such as Broadcom and Qualcomm in the future.
Likewise, in January of this year Apple already began testing the production of its own screens for its devices which, according to close sources, it would begin to implement in the brand’s high-end watches at the end of 2024.
Among other advantages, microLED screens use components at least a hundred times smaller than those used in products that use LED technology and are manufactured directly on wafers, allowing thinner screens to be created. They also have lower power consumption and offer higher brightness performance outdoors.
To carry out this production, Nikkei Asia has announced that Apple has partnered with suppliers such as Osram for microLED components, LG Display for substrates and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. for wafers.
In addition to all this, Apple has also designed some of the production equipment to better control the mass transfer process. That is, the process of moving tens of thousands of microLED chips onto substrates. “This shows how determined Apple is to allocate resources to have more control over next-generation display technologies,” according to one of the sources.
Following this line, the mass transfer process will be carried out in an R&D facility that Apple has in the city of Taoyuan (Taiwan), where it is estimated that it has a team of more than a thousand people.
This microLED display technology is still in a testing phase. However, Apple plans to introduce it to its iPhones, as “it’s their key revenue stream and has much higher volume.” With this, it intends to “justify the investments over the years”, according to the sources, who claim to have seen a sample of the microLED screen.
(Reference image source: Laurenz Heymann, Unsplash)
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