Apple is operating a secret lab to develop new iPhone screens

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iPhone 6s 3d
Apple is moving yet more development in-house.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Apple has opened a secret production lab in northern Taiwan, developing screens for future iOS devices, a new report claims.

The company has reportedly hired talent from display makers AU Optronics and Qualcomm — the latter company having previously operated the building. By running its own display manufacturing facility, Apple hopes to reduce its reliance on third party suppliers such as Samsung, LG Display, Sharp, and Japan Display.

It is likely that the lab is working on developing OLED displays for Apple, which we have previously written about on several occasions.

Currently, several large manufacturers — such as those mentioned above — are expanding their OLED production facilities in hopes of winning Apple orders, although it sounds like Apple may seek to do more of this work in-house, with production work outsourced to smaller manufacturers like AU Optronics and Innolux.

Previous reports have pegged Apple’s switch over to OLED displays for iOS devices for as early as the iPhone 7s in 2017. Apple’s interest in OLED relates to the fact that screens are thinner and don’t require a backlight. Apple is said to be aiming to build screens which are thinner, lighter, brighter and more energy-efficient than those used in current iPhones and iPads.

Bloomberg’s report reveals that Apple moved into the new Taiwan factory in April, but notes that the company is hardly advertising its presence:

“Tucked in a corner of Longtan Science Park, between a forest and the building site for a new biotechnology factory, the structure shows no outward indications of belonging to the world’s most valuable company … The receptionist wouldn’t provide the name or contact details for someone who could talk about the facility. Guards at an outside security post also declined to give contact details for anyone responsible.”

So, Apple’s being as secretive as ever! It’s hardly the biggest surprise of the Christmas season, though, is it?