When Apple acquired LuxVue back in May 2014, a specialist in micro-LED screen technologies, Venture Capitalist John Doer of KPCB described LuxVue's technology as being "technical breakthrough in displays." While many have speculated how Apple could use this technology, nothing seemed to fit right, especially after Apple reportedly notified their supply chain of its plan to switch to OLED for 2017 iPhones, the same display technology used on the Apple Watch. So where could micro-LED displays fit into Apple's road map?
We get our best glimpse to date of where Apple could use their micro-LED technology in a new EETimes report that was published this week. According to the report, micro-LED could be used for "direct projection displays" that would include Augmented and Virtual Reality applications like a headset.
"For the next generation of display, micro-LEDs will be a critical component for efficiency and brightness, stated the CEO of EXALOS.
Another EETimes report published last June noted that "The high-brightness, enhanced-vision systems such as head-up and head-mounted displays can improve safety and performance in fields such as aeronautics and automotive, where the displays allow pilots and drivers to receive key navigation data and information in their line of sight.
For consumers, smart glasses or nomadic projection devices with augmented reality provide directions, safety updates, advertisements and other information across the viewing field. LED micro-displays are ideally suited for such wearable systems because of their low footprint, low power consumption, high-contrast ratio and ultra-high brightness."
Both of the key applications for a micro-LED display are currently supported by Apple projects. A heads-up display could possibly apply to 'Project Titan' because Apple has other related technology from PrimeSense to make this happen. Secondly, a head-mounted display fits right into Apple's secret VR headset.
At the end of the day, while it's not a smoking gun, we're now able to at least understand where Apple's micro-LED technology could be applied to in future products that are right for this kind of advanced display that has both consumer and professional applications.