It has come to light that Apple is running a secret manufacturing facility close to its Cupertino headquarters dedicated to developing and testing its own displays.
Bloomberg News reports (opens in new tab) that the facility is working on MicroLED screens, which will allow devices to be thinner than those with other screen technologies, and will be brighter and more power-efficient than its current OLED displays.
“People familiar with the situation” claim that the project was almost abandoned a year ago but is now making significant progress, although it will still be a number of years before consumers see the results themselves.
Cornering the market
While the facility is allegedly not large enough for full-scale production, it’s well-enough equipped to handle the entirety of the development process and, as a result, potentially secure MicroLED displays as the company’s own patented tech.
Currently, Apple is supplied by a variety of manufacturers – rivals Samsung and LG amongst them – to design and manufacture the displays for their flagship products, including the likes of the iPhone X and the Apple Watch.
Moving the production and design of another key component in-house has the potential to significantly disrupt competing suppliers of the technology while simultaneously creating an exclusive product to sell – MicroLED displays.
The first functional MicroLED screen produced by the project was reportedly achieved in an Apple Watch prototype late last year, albeit without its wearable and portable functionality. This series of devices is expected to be the first to adopt the new technology if it comes to pass.
The same people responsible for leaking the information to Bloomberg have estimated another three to five years before we’ll see this screen technology in iPhones, but until then we expect to continue seeing OLED-equipped Apple devices.
Although MicroLED technology is yet to hit the consumer market, Samsung will be releasing The Wall later this year; a massive modular TV that will feature the technology.