Rumor: Apple is secretly developing its own MicroLED screens

Apple 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 Bloomberg, quoting unnamed “people familiar with the situation.” Apple Watch will be first product with Apple-produced MicroLED technology, the article adds.

  Apple’s screen development and manufacturing facility in Santa Clara, California, on March 15, 2018.Source: Bloomberg

Apple’s screen development and manufacturing facility in Santa Clara, California, on March 15, 2018.Source: Bloomberg

Along with OLEDs, microLEDs are primarily aimed at small, low-energy devices such as smartwatches and smartphones. However, unlike OLED, microLED is based on conventional GaN LED technology, which offers higher total brightness than OLED produces. It also doesn’t suffer from the shorter lifetimes of OLED.

The screens are far more difficult to produce than OLED displays, and Apple almost killed its MicroLED project a year or so ago, according to Bloomberg. However, the article adds that 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.

Chances this rumor is true, according to the Sellers Research Group (that’s me): 90%. Apple has long wanted to “make the whole widget” when it comes to its products, so this is a logical step.