Science

Samsung's future as a display supplier for Apple may be in jeopardy

Samsung's future as a display supplier for Apple may be in jeopardy

But it appears that Apple never gave up on MicroLED.

Shares in three Asian display makers fell after publication of the report.

Apple's MicroLED innovation would enable the company to emerge in a developing cell phone showcase that has possessed the capacity to tout unrivaled screens.

As Bloomberg reports, Apple is thought to be designing and producing its own displays in a secret manufacturing facility near California.

Samsung has also been working on MicroLED technology for its big-screen TVs. There, about 300 engineers are designing and producing MicroLED screens for use in future products. That's the display design favored by Samsung, Google, and most other companies making flagship smartphones.

The secret initiative, code-named T159, is overseen by executive Lynn Youngs, an Apple veteran who helped develop touch screens for the original iPhone and iPad and now oversees iPhone and Apple Watch screen technology.

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MicroLED is seen to be able to compete with OLED, delivering brighter displays at lower power consumption. The technology is still in a developmental stage and it could be some years before Apple commercialises it, whereas the iPhone 9 is expected to enter the market in autumn this year at the company's annual Special Event. It bought the startup LuxVue in 2014, and there have been many subsequent reports on how the purchase might be put to use.

According to Bloomberg, the display tech is being developed for an upcoming Apple Watch. The decision to scale back efforts in Taiwan makes sense now as the company wanted to move the development process closer to its headquarters. We could see Apple displays used in the Apple Watch, iPhone, iPad, and maybe even MacBooks in the future, but there's one big problem: MicroLED is extremely hard to manufacture.

Apple's push to make its own display technology in-house is in no way guaranteed, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. Its latest iPhone X was manufactured with OLED technology of Samsung. An Apple Watch with a MicroLED display is still years out.

Apple's pursuit to produce its own screen may hamper range of suppliers such as Samsung Electronics Co., Sharp Corp., and LG Display Co. along with chip-screen interface producers such as Synaptics Inc. READ NEXT:IBM launches new platform for AI business applications Bringing display building in-house will provide several advantages to Apple.

For LTPS panels, Apple will continue to seek supplies from Japan Display, Sharp and LG Display during the year.