Apple meets with cutting-edge display makers to talk MicroLED

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2018 iPhone
MicroLED displays could be coming to Apple devices sooner rather than later.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple representatives reportedly visited Taipei this week to attend the Touch Taiwan display industry convention.

During the event, Apple is said to have held private meetings with two Taiwanese display makers to discuss their MicroLED and MiniLED technologies, both of which could be used in future devices.

The two companies include AU Optronics and Epistar. AU Optronics is reportedly the first company to develop a 12-inch full color TFT-driven MicroLED display. Epistar, meanwhile, is also a leading company when it comes to the development of this display technology.

Apple’s MicroLED plans

Apple has shown an interest in MicroLED technology for some time. Unlike traditional displays, microLED displays don’t require backlighting, while also offering an increased color range and higher resolution graphics.

Back in 2014, Apple acquired LuxVue Technology, a small California company that specializes in MicroLED-based displays for consumer electronics applications. In 2015, Apple then opened a lab investigating this field in Taoyuan, Taiwan. This has since moved to California, where Apple supposedly operates a secret manufacturing plant to test produce MicroLED screens.

The company is also rumored to be working with supplier Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) on MicroLED displays. Foxconn is said to be interested, too. In addition, it is reportedly lining up to work with Taiwan’s PlayNitride, which recently gained the necessary approval to invest $17.1 million in a new MicroLED production facility.

Apple is supposedly interested in using MicroLED displays for future Apple Watches, Macs, and possibly even an as-yet-unreleased wearable device, which could be Apple’s augmented reality glasses.

MicroLED displays, however, are both expensive and difficult to develop. Mini LED is therefore seen as a transitional technology that exists between traditional LED and Micro LED.

Source: Economic Daily News