MicroLED is the first new display technology in a decade. Can it beat OLED?

“Apple currently uses OLED displays for the iPhone X and Apple Watch, but it’s reportedly developing its own in-house MicroLED displays for use in mobile devices, starting with the watch,” Geoffrey Morrison writes for CNET. “Details are scarce and it’ll likely be years (if ever) before Apple brings it to market, but Cupertino’s interest provides further evidence that MicroLED could be big.”

“It’s easy to see why. MicroLED has the potential for the same perfect black levels as OLED and higher brightness than any current display technology, all with excellent color and without the viewing angle and uniformity issues of LCD,” Morrison writes. “Right now the issue with MicroLED isn’t image quality, it’s manufacturing. The sources cited in the Apple report say the screens are more difficult to produce than OLED displays, to the extent that Apple almost pulled out of development a year ago.”

“One problem is that when you shrink LEDs, the total amount of light they produce goes down. So you either need to drive them harder, increase their efficiency, or both. Just driving them harder introduces new issues. You’ll find yourself needing a lot more electricity and dissipating a lot more heat,” Morrison writes. “Getting the gap between the pixels, or the ‘pitch size,’ down is another huge challenge, since the circuitry and other necessary elements can only get so small. If the pitch size can’t shrink, there’s a limit to how small a MicroLED TV a company can make. Sure, wall-sized TVs are cool, but no one will buy them.”

“Instead of a handful, or maybe a few dozen, yellow-blue ‘white’ LEDs like you get on a normal TV, you have 8.3 million LEDs, one for each pixel on a 4K 3,840×2,160 display,” Morrison writes. “Actually, it’s way worse than that, since you need red, green and blue LEDs. So that means there’s nearly 25 million total LEDs, more than 8 million for each of the primary colors. Each RGB trio is packaged as one pixel.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: As Morrison notes, the potential is great. MicroLED, when perfected, will offer brighter images than OLED, but with the same ability to turn off each pixel, for perfect blacks. MicroLED will offer more a realistic image than OLED and better HDR reproduction. This is why Apple is working on it and we bet Apple will get there, too! It may take a couple more years, but this is an achievable engineering challenge given Apple’s money and talent.

And, providing even more impetus, with the technology in hand, hopefully well-protected, Apple will be free from using Samsung components is they so choose.

As per Apple’s current OLED displays:

Apple individually calibrates every single iPhone X unit before it leaves the factory. And Apple’s OLED iPhone X’s feature TrueTone. Those are two big reasons, among others, why Apple’s iPhone X displays are particularly special vs. other Samsung-made OLED screens.MacDailyNews, November 13, 2017

“Apple’s version of an OLED screen is manufactured by Samsung, but is not an off-the-shelf Samsung part. It’s a custom-built, diamond-pattern OLED array that was built to Apple specifications and driven by an Apple display driver. This screen is not comparable to screens found in Samsung devices on a variety of levels.” – TechCrunch, October 31, 2017

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
Stop the fake news! Apple’s iPhone X OLED display is not just like any other Samsung offering – November 16, 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


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