Apple plans micro-LED displays for wearable devices; could come as soon as 2018

“Apple is planning to adopt advanced micro-LED display technology in its wearable devices, industry sources say, with one suggesting that could happen as soon as 2018,” Cheng Ting-Fang and Debby Wu report for Nikkei Asian Review. “This fuels speculation about whether Apple will cut dependence on Samsung Electronics, the only company in the world that can make curved smartphone screens using advanced organic light-emitting diode technology. ”

“The U.S. titan is relying solely on the South Korean conglomerate for curved OLED panels for its premium iPhone 8 handsets that are coming out later this year,” Ting-Fang and Wu report. “‘Apple is working very hard to foster the micro-LED technology… the company could push the use of new display tech as early as next year,’ said an executive with close knowledge of display technology. ‘At this point, Apple is the only company who is able to roll out micro-LED, a technology that is still at an early stage of development, and cover the high costs incurred by the low yield rate,’ the person said.”

“The executive said that it was still unlikely for micro-LED to go into smartphone[s] soon as there were still a lot of technical issues to overcome,” Ting-Fang and Wu report. “Apple’s move to create next-generation display tech appears to be part of its efforts to slash its reliance on Samsung Electronics as early as possible, according to Roger Chu, an analyst at research institution LEDinside.”

“Micro-LED can also provide brighter color contrast, as it does not blur under sunlight, and it can be more power-efficient than existing display technologies,” Ting-Fang and Wu report. “Also, micro-LED panels can be flexible and even foldable like OLED ones.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple Watch first, differentiation for iPhone later, and for Apple AR glasses, too?

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• In order to build the best products, you have to own the primary technologies. Steve felt that if Apple could do that — make great products and great tools for people — they in turn would do great things. He felt strongly that this would be his contribution to the world at large. We still very much believe that. That’s still the core of this company.Apple CEO Tim Cook, March 18, 2015

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1 Comment

  1. This article is wrong is one aspect: Samsung is not the only company that can do flexible OLEDs; LG Display already does them for Apple Watch. LG Display’s issue is that they can not provide the scale Apple needs for iPhones, they have way weaker manufacturing facilities, and because Samsung has reserved the majority of upcoming equipment for itself, so the likes of LG Display, Sharp/Innolux Display, and Japan Display do not have much.

    As to micro-LEDs, if things are successful, Apple will get rid of OLEDs in iPhones by 2020, and yes, Samsung Display will not be needed by that time any more.

    The article is right to suggest that Apple Watch will be first to get micro-LED displays due to Watch’s small size and relatively small sales.

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