Apple Said to Aim for Trial Production of Micro-LED Displays by End of 2017

by

A new report posted by DigiTimes today has taken a look into the micro-LED ambitions of multiple companies, including the timeline by which Apple might begin its trial production of micro-LED displays. Although it's yet to be confirmed, Apple is likely to use such display technology on a version of the Apple Watch launched in 2018 or later.

The report, citing industry sources, states that Apple's current aim is to manufacture a "small volume" of products with micro-LED displays towards the end of this year. Reports over the past few weeks have referenced similar timelines for Apple's micro-LED plans, and today's news also corroborates the location of Apple's trial production run, expected to be housed in a plant in Taoyuan, Taiwan.

A few makers engaged in R&D for micro LED display products, despite many technological bottlenecks, are expected to take the initiative to begin trial production in the second half of 2017 at the earliest, according to industry sources.

Apple has been keen in the development of micro LED technology following its acquisition of LuxVue in 2014, and recent market speculations also indicate that Apple is likely to crank out a small volume of micro LED display products from its plant in Taoyuan, northern Taiwan at the end of the year.

Rumors of an Apple Watch with a micro-LED display began last summer, when it was suggested that such a device may launch in 2017, but with the current reports of late-in-the-year trial productions on micro-LED displays it's likely that the 2017 "Apple Watch Series 3" will continue to use OLED technology. In regards to advantages, devices with micro-LED have the chance to be thinner, lighter, see an improved color gamut with increased brightness, and sport higher resolutions.

Apple's production on micro-LED is said to be the final realization of its acquisition of low-power microLED-based display maker LuxVue in 2014. Similarly, Samsung has been rumored to acquire micro-LED company PlayNitride, which is expected to begin a trial production on the displays sometime in the second half of 2017. Foxconn has also announced plans to acquire display startup eLux, "for development of next-generation micro-LED display technology."

Although no direct connection with Apple has been made by the manufacturers, their previous history as suppliers for the Cupertino company points toward either company, or both, as additional micro-LED suppliers for a future generation Apple Watch. According to industry sources speaking on Foxconn's eLux purchase, "The acquisition could provide a fast track for Foxconn to commercialize micro-LED technology," bringing it to a wider range of consumer products.

Related Roundup: Apple Watch Series 6
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Buy Now)

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
45 months ago
I can't wait to see this in all Apple products in the future, although it'll be a very long wait.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
45 months ago

OLED is a big Apple gotcha to Samsung. They are going to get them to build plants and spend billions of dollars to be able to supply OLED screens for iPhones, but Apple's never had any intentions of using OLED! They'll go right to Micro LED!

Yeah it seems is if Apple wants to jump and skip right over this OLED craze.

I can wait couple more years.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
45 months ago
mLED is really exciting tech. Hope it's commercialised in the next few years.

"Along with OLEDs ('https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OLED'), mLEDs are primarily aimed at small, low-energy devices such as smartwatches ('https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smartwatch') and smartphones ('https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smartphone'). OLED and mLED both offer greatly reduced energy requirements compared to conventional LCD systems. Unlike OLED, mLED is based on conventional GaN ('https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GaN') LED technology, which offers far higher total brightness than OLED products, as much as 30 times, as well as higher efficiency in terms of lux/W. It also does not suffer from the shorter lifetimes of OLED, although the multi-year lifespan of modern OLEDs has mitigated this issue in most roles."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MicroLED
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
45 months ago
A

Essentially, Micro-Led allows for a much brighter display, wider color gamut and eliminates Back lighting. Also, with less power draw from the display being more efficient, it helps increase the battery longevity.

I can't speak if I will ever make its way to a laptop, but it's been rumored that Apple will use micro LED with the Apple Watch in the future. Samsung is also been reportedly testing micro LED is well. Suspect it will start with smart watches and/or smart phones, for makes its way into larger scale products.

Are its blacks as good as oled?
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
45 months ago

Essentially, Micro-Led allows for a much brighter display, wider color gamut and eliminates Back lighting. Also, with less power draw from the display being more efficient, it helps increase the battery longevity.

That is describing the advantages of xLED in general over LCD, not mLED over OLED.

What are the benefits of this new technology? Will it make its way into laptops?

Being LED, microLED has the same display advantages as OLED over LCD.

The primary difference between mLED and OLED is that the former uses inorganic LEDs, which can be brighter than organic, but are also much larger at this point except in labs.

As for using it in laptops, well maybe in another ten years.

Are its blacks as good as oled?

They're both LED tech, so they both can be turned completely off.


* I think people are misled by the term "micro" in front. It'd be more accurate and less confusing to laymen, to instead simply say ILED vs OLED (inorganic vs organic).

(It's similar to the way that many people get confused and excited over the trademark "Liquid Metal")

Sony have already released a microLED product for commercial use only, but they call it CLEDIS. It is an 8Kx2K 32'x9' display. Yes, those measurements are in feet! I think that counts as larger scale.

It's also less than 20 PPI. Even Sony's first attempt at a mLED consumer TV was only 40 PPI. The Apple Watch OLED display is 290 PPI. Not even in the same ballpark.

Ironically, that's the problem with "micro" LED right now; its pixels are larger and more difficult to manufacture, at low yield and high expense. So they tend to make smaller display modules of them and then stitch many modules into a larger display, as was done for that Sony wall display.

Eventually mLED could be mass produced in a decent resolution, but at this point... barring a breakthrough... that seems still to be years away. In the meantime, OLED is here, mature, high resolution, not expensive, and constantly improving.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
45 months ago

What are the benefits of this new technology? Will it make its way into laptops?

Essentially, Micro-Led allows for a much brighter display, wider color gamut and eliminates Back lighting. Also, with less power draw from the display being more efficient, it helps increase the battery longevity.

I can't speak if I will ever make its way to a laptop, but it's been rumored that Apple will use micro LED with the Apple Watch in the future. Samsung is also been reportedly testing micro LED is well. Suspect it will start with smart watches and/or smart phones, for makes its way into larger scale products.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

Apple References Unreleased 2020 16-Inch MacBook Pro in Boot Camp Update

Monday October 26, 2020 8:42 am PDT by
Last week, Apple released an update for Boot Camp, its utility for running Windows on a Mac. While this update would typically be unremarkable, several of our readers noticed that the release notes reference an unreleased 2020 model of the 16-inch MacBook Pro. While this could easily be a mistake, the 16-inch MacBook Pro is nearly a year old, so it is certainly a worthy candidate for a...

MagSafe Charger Only Charges at Full 15W Speeds With Apple's 20W Power Adapter [Updated]

Monday October 26, 2020 3:38 pm PDT by
Alongside the iPhone 12 and 12 Pro models, Apple introduced a new MagSafe charger that attaches to the magnetic ring in the back of the devices, providing up to 15W of charging power, which is double the speed of the 7.5W Qi-based wireless charging maximum. Apple does not provide a power adapter with the $39 MagSafe charger, requiring users to supply their own USB-C compatible option. Apple...

Google Reportedly Pays Apple $8-12 Billion Per Year to be Default iOS Search Engine

Sunday October 25, 2020 2:59 pm PDT by
The United States Justice Department is targeting a lucrative deal between Apple and Google as part of one of the U.S. government's largest antitrust cases, reports The New York Times. On Tuesday, the Justice Department filed an antitrust lawsuit against Google, claiming the Mountain View-based company used anticompetitive and exclusionary practices in the search and advertising markets to ...

After Mocking Apple, Samsung May Remove Power Adapter From Galaxy S21 Box

Tuesday October 27, 2020 4:29 pm PDT by
Samsung's Galaxy S21, coming in 2021, may not include a power adapter or headphones in the box, according to reports from Korean media sites highlighted by SamMobile. Rumors earlier this year also said that Samsung was considering removing these accessories from future smartphone models, but that didn't stop Samsung from mocking Apple for selling the iPhone 12 models without a power adapter...

Report: Apple Silicon iMac Featuring Desktop Class 'A14T' Chip Coming First Half of 2021

Tuesday October 27, 2020 4:14 am PDT by
The first iMac powered by Apple Silicon is set to arrive in the first half of next year and will feature a desktop class "A14T" chip, according to Chinese-language newspaper The China Times. Codenamed "Mt. Jade," Apple's first custom-made desktop processor will be twinned with its first self-developed GPU, codenamed "Lifuka," both of which are being produced using TSMC's 5-nanometer process, ...

iPhone 12 Six-Foot Drop Test Results: Ceramic Shield More Durable But Not Damage Proof

Monday October 26, 2020 5:00 am PDT by
Apple's new iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro feature a new Ceramic Shield screen that Apple says offers 4x better drop performance. To test that claim, Allstate Protection Plans put the two models through a range of breakability tests and recorded the results. In a face down sidewalk drop test at six feet, the iPhone 12 suffered small cracks and scuffed corners and edges, leaving sharp grooves in ...

Bloomberg: New AirPods and AirPods Pro Coming in 2021, AirPods Studio Delayed, Third HomePod Model Also Possible

Monday October 26, 2020 3:34 am PDT by
Apple plans to update its AirPods line next year with two new models including third-generation AirPods and second-generation AirPods Pro, according to a new report from Bloomberg. The Cupertino, California-based technology giant is working on two new models: third-generation entry-level AirPods and the second version of the AirPods Pro earbuds, according to people familiar with the plans. ...

2020 iPad Air vs. iPad Pro: Hands-On Comparison

Tuesday October 27, 2020 3:03 pm PDT by
Apple announced the new 2020 fourth-generation iPad Air in September, but the new tablets just started shipping out to customers last Friday. We picked one up and thought we'd do a hands-on comparison with the iPad Pro, which was last updated in March, because both tablets are about as powerful and share many similarities. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Design and ...

iPhone 12 Ceramic Shield Still 'Scratches at Level 6 With Deeper Grooves at Level 7' in Mohs Hardness Test

Wednesday October 28, 2020 7:10 am PDT by
iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro models feature a new Ceramic Shield front cover that is "tougher than any smartphone glass," according to Apple, but the displays on the devices still have similar scratch resistance as previous iPhones based on a new test. Zack Nelson today shared his much-anticipated iPhone 12 Pro durability test on his YouTube channel JerryRigEverything, and based on the Mohs...

Apple Files Mystery 'Personal Computer' With Placeholder 'B2002' Name in Bluetooth Product Database

Tuesday October 27, 2020 12:36 pm PDT by
Last week, a listing appeared in the Bluetooth product database for an Apple product with a placeholder name "B2002" and a model number of "TBD." MacRumors was alerted to the listing by health and fitness tech website MyHealthyApple. The product is filed under the "personal computer" category, which Apple has used for previous Mac and iPad listings in the database, so it is hard to pinpoint...