Apple’s micro LED display research hits a bump in the road

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iphone x
Despite its recent switch to Super Retina, Apple is continuing to explore new types of display.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple is reportedly downsizing the R&D team that it currently has developing micro LED display products in Taiwan, due to production issues.

A previous report from earlier this year said that Apple was producing a small number of trial micro LED screens during the second half of 2017 to evaluate whether or not these might be a good fit for future devices.

Turns out they may not be!

Compared with LCD displays of the kind used in the present iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, micro LEDs have the advantage of lower power consumption, higher levels of brightness, ultra high definition, higher color saturation, faster response rate, longer lifetimes and higher efficiency.

Today’s report claims that the production issue involves problems with the “mass transfer of Micro LED chips onto receiver substrates,” according to sources from Taiwan’s upstream suppliers.

This is having the effect of impeding production of the displays in the kind of volume that Apple would require. However, Apple is supposedly not giving up on the technology altogether, although it has reassigned many of the people working on the project.

Instead, it is now working with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) to develop applications for micro LEDs in a way that sidesteps some of the production problems it has run into.

Back in 2014, Apple acquired LuxVue Technology, a small California-based company that specializes in “micro LED-based displays for consumer electronics applications.”

LuxVue came with several patents related to micro LED technology. At the time, it was reported that Google was interested in using micro LEDs for its second-generation Google Glass headset. Apple is now rumored to be working on its own AR standalone headset, which could be shown off in 2019, ready to ship in 2020.

Source: Digitimes