Analyst: Apple, TSMC working on panels for new Apple Watches, AR glasses

Apple is working with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing (TSMC) — a key supplier of mobile processors — to develop micro LED panels on silicon-based backplanes for use in the Apple Watch and an augmented reality (AR) wearable device, according to DigiTimes Research senior analyst Luke Lin. 

The tech giant is also also working on another project developing large-size micro LED panels on TFT-based backplanes and will use them in products sized much larger than its MacBooks, he added. Lin projects that Apple is preparing two sizes of micro LED panels for small-size applications: a 1.3- to 1.4-inch one for its future Apple Watch and a 0.7- to 0.8-inch one for an AR wearable device, potentially AR glasses.

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The analyst adds that the Apple Watch micro LED panel may enter mass production in the second half of 2018 or in 2019, while the large-size one may enter mass production in 2019 or later, stated Lin. The panel for the AR wearable device doesn’t yet have a mass production schedule, the analyst notes.

According to the Sellers Research Group, Lin’s report makes sense. A new Apple Watch this fall is almost a certainty. And the Cupertino, California-based company is surely working on AR glasses, though I don’t expect ‘em to go on sale before the end of 2019.