Apple is reportedly planning to start using its own Custom micro-LED Displays for Apple Watch and iPhones in the next few years
It was reported Last night that Apple is reportedly planning to start using its own custom micro-LED 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.
The company aims to begin by swapping out the display in the highest-end Apple Watches by the end of next year, according to people with knowledge of the matter. The screens will upgrade the current OLED to microLED, and Apple plans to eventually bring the displays to other devices, including the iPhone.
Patently Apple has posted a number of Apple's key micro-LED patents dating back to at least 2019. The initial patent covered Quantum Dot micro-LED technologies . Others included a micro-LED for a fitness band and one for foldable device. Others could be reviewed here: 01, 02 and 03. Apple acquired LuxVue Technology, a leader in micro-LED display technology back in 2014, acquiring 21 patents.
Bloomberg's report further noted that "The changes are part of a sweeping effort to replace Apple supplies with homegrown parts, an undertaking that will give the company more control over the design and capabilities of its products." It was reported on Monday that Apple would replace chips by Broadcom and Qualcomm over the next several years.
Samsung is the world’s most advanced manufacturer of displays, and has been producing its own version of microLED for TVs. But by bringing the screens in-house, Apple could, in the long run, better customize its devices and maintain a stronger hold on its supply chain.
Apple’s project is being led by Wei Chen, a Senior Power Architect at Apple who runs the display technology group within Johny Srouji’s Hardware Technologies division. The company has begun testing the microLED displays on an update to the Apple Watch Ultra, its new high-end sports watch.
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.
Though Apple has designed the new displays and devised their manufacturing process, it will likely rely on an outside supplier to handle mass production." This is interesting considering one of the latest rumors from Ming-Chi Kuo claimed that Chinese display maker BOE would overtake Samsung starting with displays for the iPhone 15 and 15 Pro. BOE is also a supplier of foldable displays.
Further, it was reported just yesterday that Apple supplier BOE is planning to build new display factories in Vietnam. While only time will tell if it's BOE that Apple will rely on to deliver their new micro-LED displays, signs are beginning to back that up.
Bloomberg added that Apple "has also customized the displays for its upcoming headset, which will use similar technology to the microLED screens coming to the Apple Watch. While it will take years before Apple moves the iPhone to microLED, it plans to bring OLED technology to the iPad with the Pro model in 2024. For more, read the full Bloomberg report.