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Custom MicroLED Displays – Apple’s in-house screen tech

Apple is no stranger to making its own components. iPhones have long been powered by home-grown A-series processors, and the company has spent the last few years moving iPad and Mac over to Apple Silicon in the form of industry-leading M1 and M2 chips.

So it’s no surprise to hear that Apple is planning its own display technology, which we could see implemented as soon as next year with a next-generation Apple Watch Ultra. Longer term, we would likely see Apple’s display tech come to iPhone and iPad too.

The custom displays Apple is working on are built with microLED, as opposed to the LCD and OLED screens currently seen in its products. A report from Bloomberg says microLED offers improved brightness and vibrance, with better visibility from an angle too. Anonymous tipsters from Apple claim the new displays “make content appear like it’s painted on top of the glass.”

Designing and manufacturing its own parts helps Apple strengthen its famous synergy between hardware and software, with the freedom that comes from overseeing both sides of the equation. It also allows for more control over the scale and speed of production, reducing reliance on third parties.

The plan seems to be to phase out the current display suppliers over the next few years. This spells bad news for suppliers including LG and Samsung, companies that rival Apple in the smartphone market but work with them each year to produce a huge number of displays for Apple products.

That being said, another report this week stated that supplier BOE is planning a $250 million factory to work exclusively on OLED displays for Apple, so its plans clearly involve some reliance on external suppliers for years to come.

Apple is also reportedly planning a shift from Qualcomm modems to in-house versions, although the cancelation of iPhone SE 4 as a test bed for new parts will likely spell a delay on that front.

With manufacturing bottlenecks often the cause of product delays, reducing reliance on external suppliers would be a huge boon to Apple. If it can create a next-level display technology that exceeds the current batch of OLED screens, even better.