The first Apple devices with OLED displays are the Apple Watch, MacBook Pro and iPhone X, however Apple is currently working on the next step in the displays technology. So, in a small factory in California, relatively close to the main headquarters, Apple is building MicroLED displays that might be soon implemented in all devices released by the company.
This is not the first time when Apple is trying to develop proprietary technology.
The MicroLED technology has been presented for the first time by Samsung during CES 2018. At that time Samsung presented a modular TV that can be configured in any dimensions the user wants based on the number of used modules. Right now Apple has not advanced so much with the MicroLED technology but Apple already has panels that can be successfully used in small devices such as the Apple Watch.
It appears that the plan is for the iPhone, iMac, MacBook, iPad and Apple Watch displays to switch to the MicroLED technology when this is profitable for mass production and the production of the displays to remain in Apple’s own factories or to be licensed to partners. So, Apple would hold control of another important component after a few years ago the company started to develop proprietary chipsets, Bluetooth chips, vibration systems and graphic units.
Bloomberg’s reports that Apple is currently two years behind in creating devices with MicroLED displays, and this in case development will not hit other problems on the road. It is not clear if the production will stay in the United States or whether Apple will look for a partner in Asia. The California factory is too small to deal with mass market production as it is rather a center for quickly building and testing prototypes.
Switching to MicroLED has clear advantages compared to the OLED technology because the displays can be better calibrated, they can provide more luminosity and the energy requirements is lower. For devices such as smartphones and smart watches, MicroLED displays might significantly improve the battery autonomy while also guaranteeing more natural colors and bigger resolution.
After the Bloomberg report concerning Apple’s MicroLED displays came out, the shares of some companies known to build displays such as Japan Display, Sharp, LG or Samsung have dropped. Also, the low iPhone X sales since the beginning of 2018 have financially affected Samsung more than Apple.