Apple is developing its own MicroLED displays in a secret manufacturing facility

“Apple Inc. is designing and producing its own device displays for the first time, using a secret manufacturing facility near its California headquarters to make small numbers of the screens for testing purposes, according to people familiar with the situation,” Mark Gurman reports for Bloomberg. “The technology giant is making a significant investment in the development of next-generation MicroLED screens, say the people, who requested anonymity to discuss internal planning. MicroLED screens use different light-emitting compounds than the current OLED displays and promise to make future gadgets slimmer, brighter and less power-hungry.”

“The screens are far more difficult to produce than OLED displays, and the company almost killed the project a year or so ago, the people say,” Gurman reports. “Engineers have since been making progress and the technology is now at an advanced stage, they say, though consumers will probably have to wait a few years before seeing the results.”

“Controlling MicroLED technology would help Apple stand out in a maturing smartphone market and outgun rivals like Samsung that have been able to tout superior screens. Ray Soneira, who runs screen tester DisplayMate Technologies, says bringing the design in-house is a ‘golden opportunity’ for Apple. ‘Everyone can buy an OLED or LCD screen,’ he says. ‘But Apple could own MicroLED,'” Gurman reports. “The secret initiative, code-named T159, is overseen by executive Lynn Youngs, an Apple veteran who helped develop touch screens for the original iPhone and iPad and now oversees iPhone and Apple Watch screen technology.”

Much more in the full article – highly recommendedhere.

MacDailyNews Take: This is bad news for the likes of Samsung Electronics, along with Japan Display, Sharp, LG Display, and Universal Display if Apple’s MicroLED project bears fruit.

Success would certainly help Apple products stand apart even more. For example, even today, the general public does not realize the exceptional quality of Apple’s iPhone X OLED display, thinking they can get “the same thing” on a Samsung when they cannot.

I’ve always wanted to own and control the primary technology in everything we do.Steve Jobs, October 12, 2004

• 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

Apple hits speed bump in Micro LED development – November 20, 2017
Apple plans micro-LED displays for wearable devices; could come as soon as 2018 – June 8, 2017
Apple’s research in micro-LED displays highlights a fundamental strategic shift – June 29, 2016
Apple acquires 21 LuxVue patents with some using synthetic sapphire – May 6, 2014
Apple acquires LuxVue, maker of power efficient micro-LED technology – May 2, 2014

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz,” “Dan K.,” and “David E.” for the heads up.]


  1. “…and outgun rivals like Samsung that have been able to tout superior screens.”

    What? Like the Galaxy S8 red tint display problem or the Google Pixel 2 XL screen burn-in problem.

  2. At the pace Apple now works, the Apple MicroLED will hit the street at double the price of the competition’s technically superior NanoLED, but Apple will charge 50% more because, you know, it’s so Ivy thin and rose gold.

    Don’t forget to order your adapters and hunchback battery case. Unless you’re a wall wart living your entire life on Starbucks WiFi, you’ll need it.

    Still waiting for a curved back phone with a superior battery in it, Apple. Notch free please. With the world’s most popular headphone jack. Too hard for you?

  3. According to the Wikipedia article on MicroLED, Sony has already demonstrated a prototype back in 2012 of a similar tech they called “Crystal LED” and Samsung has announced a possible release of MicroLED tvs later this year. Seems MicroLED is hardly an Apple exclusive R&D project. Based on this, my bet is on Samsung maintaining display tech lead over most competitors.

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