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Report: Apple to shift away from LG & Samsung with in-house microLED displays

11 Jan 2023 | Rasmus Larsen |

The microLED displays that we have heard rumors about are in fact Apple's first in-house displays. They will come first to Apple Watch and later iPhone and other devices, claims Bloomberg.

Apple is currently transitioning its products away from LCD to OLED displays by sourcing panels from BOE, LG Display and Samsung Display. Apple sets the target specifications for such displays that its partners typically develop ahead of mass production.

It is looking increasingly likely that the next step after OLED will be microLED.

- "Apple Inc. is planning to start using its own custom displays in mobile devices as early as 2024, an effort to reduce its reliance on technology partners like Samsung and LG and bring more components in-house," Bloomberg reported cautioning that the launch may slip to 2025.

Bloomberg claims that Apple Watch Ultra will be the first to get microLED – something we've heard before – followed by "other devices, including the iPhone", although it will take several years. The microLEDs will be "Apple’s first screens designed and developed entirely in-house".

- "Compared with current Apple Watches, the next-generation displays are designed to offer brighter, more vibrant colors and the ability to be better seen at an angle. The displays make content appear like it’s painted on top of the glass, according to people who have seen them, who asked not to be identified because the project is still under wraps," wrote Bloomberg.

The report further said that Apple has devised the manufacturing process, but it is unclear who will manufacture the screens. MicroLED can potentially be mass-produced on wafers by TSMC, according to a 2021 report from Nikkei.

Apple has in recent years shifted more components in its devices to in-house designs including the CPU, GPU and soon modems and wireless chips. These are manufacturered by TSMC.


MicroLED

MicroLED on a 300mm wafer. Photo: Aledia

An Apple microLED TV?

The report begs the question if microLED will eventually appear in an Apple TV display, also powered by the company's own chips. The company has for many years shown interest in TV displays and the TV market. In 2015, it launched the first Apple TV box with tvOS, a dedicated TV operating system. Samsung has tried to bring microLED display technology to TVs for years. The South Korean company announced microLED TVs for a sixth time at this year's CES but they are still not readily available on the consumer market. MicroLED has the potential to offer even higher brightness and color volume than the best LCD and OLED displays today, with further reduced risk of burn-in. - Source: Bloomberg

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