As CNBC reports, shares in a range of Apple suppliers fell after Bloomberg's article went live. The company is reportedly using MicroLED technology in an effort to replace Samsung's OLED displays in future devices. The company considered ditching the idea a year ago before making a breakthrough.
Other tech giants looking at the technology include Taiwan's Hon Hai Precision Industry Co Ltd, Apple's main contract manufacturer. However, the screens are significantly brighter than current OLED screens. Apple is building screens using MicroLED technology and is planning to test a small number of them to see how they might fare on its devices. However, Bloomberg says, manufacturing is likely to move out of the current facility if the MicroLED project becomes commercialized further. Until then, Apple will have to continue buying screens from suppliers like Samsung and LG. An additional 40-50 million 6.5-inch OLED panels will be procured by Apple for the production of a less expensive iPhone model.
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The fact that Apple is interested in MicroLED isn't new; the company acquired MicroLED developer LuxVue in May 2014. "But Apple could own MicroLED", said Ray Soneira, DisplayMate Technologies.
Apple is designing and manufacturing its own display for the first time. There are chances that after Apple finalizes the design and other things, it could even outsource the production of the MicroLED displays. All these tiny LEDs must be individually manufactured and calibrated.
Engineers at the facility are also assembling prototype MicroLED screens, right down to attaching the screen to the glass.
Apple's research facility in Santa Clara has been operating in secret for a few years now, but progress has been slow.