Apple makes smart move by exploring development of its own displays

“Apple is reportedly taking steps to design and manufacture its own display components for the first time, as it looks to reduce its dependence on suppliers such as Samsung Electronics, while keeping its component costs in check,” Trefis Team writes for Forbes. “Bloomberg reports that the tech behemoth is using a secret production facility located near its headquarters to make screens that use next-generation MicroLED technology.”

“The OLED display module on Apple’s iPhone X, which is sourced from Samsung, is reported to cost as much as $110 per unit, up from around $40 for the LCD display on the previous generation iPhone 7,” Trefis writes. “Apple has the financial and technical resources to undertake the development of new technology, and this could pay off in the long run.”

“Advanced displays are generally a big selling point for modern smartphones, and Apple has so far largely relied on off-the-shelf display components,” Trefis writes. “By developing and potentially controlling next generation MicroLED technology, which could make future products thinner, brighter and more battery-efficient, Apple could take on rivals like Samsung more directly, while controlling manufacturing costs and improving its margins.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Thinner, brighter and more battery-efficient are all sought-after improvements, but anything that also hurts slavish copier Samsung in the process would be a welcome bonus!

Samsung, Sharp and other stocks fall on report that Apple is working its own MicroLED displays – March 19, 2018
Apple is developing its own MicroLED displays in a secret manufacturing facility – March 19, 2018
Apple hits speed bump in Micro LED development – November 20, 2017
DisplayMate: Apple’s iPhone X has the most color accurate display we’ve ever measured; it is visually indistinguishable from perfect – November 8, 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


  1. Apple, if this rumor is true, why didn’t you start doing this a lot sooner when Samsung was ripping you off left and right years ago?

    Seems to be reacting a little late don’t you think?

    Again, I’ll give Apple the benefit of the doubt IF this rumor is indeed true. We just never know with Apple anymore since they seem to be running behind compared to Steve Jobs Apple.

    1. Well untill late on SJ Apple pretty much was more reliant on others than Apple is now. I suspect that MicroLED allows them to leap ahead of or at least compete on a level playing field with others as it takes years to anticipate and then develop such technology then produce it and taking their OLED knowhow into production probably would never have been truly competitive or cost effectively so. This time around with early commitment they are up with the pack at the very least at the very beginning and can use its design expertise on top of the production capability to give them an advantage from the outset.

  2. Trefis is not entirely correct. “Advanced displays are generally a big selling point for modern smartphones, and Apple has so far largely relied on off-the-shelf display components,” Trefis writes.

    Well…not exactly. While Apple does source its displays from commercial suppliers, calling them ‘off-the-shelf’ is not accurate. Based on everything that I have read over the years, Apple works with its suppliers to refine its processes to meet Apple display specifications. Even the Samsung-sourced OLED displays on the iPhone X are different from the standard OLEDs used on the Samsung Galaxy phones. That is because Apple cares about the details, even if most people (like Trefis) are unaware of the difference. It matters.

    1. Indeed specification does matter.

      Problem is, Apple is training up the competition. When Apple hires its direct competitor to meet some criteria, Samsung learns how to achieve that criteria, and the next Samsung product has the same quality. Then Samsung has volume manufacturing advantage too, so unit cost is lower and Samsung can profitably sell its phones at a lower cost to the customer.

      Because Apple does not control many core manufacturing technologies, it is on a hamster wheel for product value. Apple relies more and more on skimming app sales revenue and media subscriptions, while its hardware is marginally better than the competition when judged objectively. Actually years behind the competition if you look at many Mac models, Airports, etc.

      This may be okay as a short term strategy, but as you know, Wall Street has severe questions about how well Apple’s massive outsourcing will bode for the future. If Apple got back into being first to market for new tech that it owned, then the P/E ratio would spring back to where the MDN club desires it to be.

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