Apple Working With TSMC to Develop MicroLED Panels for Future Apple Watch and Augmented Reality Wearable Device

Apple has plans in place to develop MicroLED panels for both small-size and large-size devices, with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) providing support for producing smaller form factor applications, which could include future Apple Watch models and AR wearables, according to DigiTimes senior analyst Luke Lin.

microled

Apple is working with TSMC to develop micro LED panels on silicon-based backplanes for use in the Apple Watch and an augmented reality (AR) wearable device, Lin noted.

MicroLED panels use different light-emitting compounds than the current OLED displays and should help to make future devices slimmer, brighter, and less power-hungry. Citing sources in the upstream supply chain, Lin claims Apple is preparing two sizes of MicroLED panel for small devices. They are said to include a 1.3 to 1.4-inch panel for future Apple Watch iterations and a 0.7 to 0.8-inch panel for an AR wearable device, potentially AR glasses.

Lin also believes Apple is working on developing large-size MicroLED panels on TFT-based backplates for use in products much larger than those in its current MacBook lineup, although he offered no specifics on what they might be.

Based on Lin's sources, the MicroLED panel destined for a future Apple Watch may enter mass production in the second half on 2018 or in 2019, which would suggest its use in Series 4 or 5 models. The large-size panel could see production in 2019 or later, while the panel for the AR device is yet to have a production schedule, according to the analyst.

The cost of the new MicroLED panels are said to be 400-600 percent higher than OLED panels used in the current Apple Watch. As such, Lin believes Apple will initially only use the MicroLED panel in future "top-of-the-line" versions of Apple Watch, although whether that refers specifically to iterations of the Apple Watch Edition remains unclear.

Apple is understood to own a manufacturing facility in Santa Clara, California, where it is designing and producing test samples of its own MicroLED displays, with a view to eventually replacing largely Samsung-made OLED displays currently used across its product range.

Apple's interest in the technology was revealed in its acquisition of MicroLED firm LuxVue back in 2014 and previous reports have also claimed Apple will introduce MicroLED technology in the Apple Watch first, with some rumors pointing to that happening as soon as this year.

However, Bloomberg believes that it will likely be a few years before Apple's MicroLED displays will appear in shipping products – perhaps two years for the Apple Watch and three to five years for the iPhone.

Related Forum: Apple Vision Pro

Popular Stories

airpods pro 2 pink

Apple Releases New AirPods Pro 2 Firmware

Tuesday May 28, 2024 11:46 am PDT by
Apple today released new firmware update for both the Lightning and USB-C versions of the AirPods Pro 2. The new firmware is version 6F7, up from the 6B34 firmware released in November. Apple does not provide details on what features might be included in the refreshed firmware beyond "bug fixes and other improvements," so it is unclear what's new in the update. Apple does not give...
maxresdefault

Report: These 10 New AI Features Are Coming in iOS 18

Sunday May 26, 2024 12:57 pm PDT by
iOS 18 and macOS 15 will offer an array of new AI features such as auto-generated emojis, suggested replies to emails and messages, and more, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman reports. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. A significant portion of Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) is expected to focus on AI features. Writing his latest "Power On" newsletter, Gurman...
wwdc 2024 main image feature

Apple Confirms Time for June 10 WWDC Keynote, Shares Full Schedule

Tuesday May 28, 2024 10:21 am PDT by
Apple today shared details on the schedule that it has prepared for the 2024 Worldwide Developers Conference, which is set to take place from June 10 to June 14. While WWDC always includes a keynote, Apple has confirmed that it will be held on June 10 at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time. Apple is expected to announce iOS 18, iPadOS 18, macOS 15, tvOS 18, watchOS 11, and visionOS 2, and at this time,...
Apple iPhone 15 Pro lineup Action button 230912

Apple Green-Lights iPhone 16 Pro Display Production

Tuesday May 28, 2024 5:13 am PDT by
Samsung Display and LG Display have been granted approval for mass production of OLED screens for Apple's upcoming iPhone 16 Pro models, Korea's The Elec reports. Both suppliers apparently received approval earlier this month, paving the way for the commencement of mass production of screens for the iPhone 16 Pro models. While Samsung Display will supply OLED screens for all four iPhone 16...
iPad Pro Landscape Apple Logo Feature

Apple Says Future iPads Could Feature Landscape Apple Logo

Monday May 27, 2024 6:31 am PDT by
French website Numerama interviewed three senior Apple employees about the new iPad Pro models that launched earlier this month. While the discussion did not reveal many new details, it did mention one potential change for future iPads. While the Apple logo on the back of iPads is positioned so that it appears upright in vertical orientation, the devices are often used in landscape...

Top Rated Comments

fokmik Avatar
80 months ago
Since oled has burn-in issue...on glasses any tiny issue of that matter is seen..so microLED is the future for this and for anything, at least for the upcoming 20 years
[doublepost=1522751786][/doublepost]
I'm just so curious to see how much better this is compare to OLED.
it has no cons from oled or lcd...only pros
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
kmanmx Avatar
80 months ago
I'm just so curious to see how much better this is compare to OLED.
Much. It does not rely on inorganic compounds which means several things:

1) No burn in issues
2) No life span issues (blue OLED pixels have a shorter life than red/green, which is an issue for obvious reasons)
3) No colour or brightness uniformity issues. There will be very slight variances in per-LED pixel brightness, but each individual microscopic LED will be individually controllable. In theory you could calibrate each LED with a +/- voltage offset to get perfect brightness and color uniforminity. In reality it will probably be completely unnecessary, as typical monitors offer 30% brightness differences across the panel, whereas each LED in a MicroLED display would have low single digit brightness variation.
4) You can go MUCH brighter with MicroLED. Think 5000 nits vs 1000 nits with OLED.
5) Resolution and panel size is just a function of the size of your MicroLED printing process. If you have a 10 meter printer, you can effectively print a single 10 meter screen. Of course the larger you go the more likely you are to print a dead pixel or duff circuitry, so there may still realistically be yield issues when you get too big.

However it is important to note MicroLED is not just one technology, it is an umberlla that encompasses many different display technologies, though all revolve around the core concept of microscopic inorganic LEDs. However, the MicroLED technology Apple are developing is very different to that being developed by Samsung, which is very different to what is being developed by Oculus..etc etc. To the end consumer they should all appear basically the same in terms of image quality, but look at the technologies by each manufacturer under the microscope and you would see they are all very different. It will be interesting to see which technology process is superior, in terms of cost, scalability, simplicity etc. It is similar in vain to how the fabrication process technologies for CPU's and SOC's varies quite significantly between TSMC, Global Foundries, Intel etc.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
maflynn Avatar
80 months ago
Actual Apple TV confirmed?
I see zero benefit from apple rolling out an actual Television set at this point. I think the market has changed enough, that instead of supplying a device like a TV, they're better off providing content.

Margins on TVs are razor thin, and Apple has a reputation of being over-priced, so its to see them making a dent in that product category.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
SuprUsrStan Avatar
80 months ago
Micro LED Macbook Pro? Bring it. My wallet is ready.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
44267547 Avatar
80 months ago
I'm just so curious to see how much better this is compare to OLED.
These are some of the core Benefits with Micro-Led advancements over OLED: Once Micro LED reaches production on a mass level, I think it will be fairly significant.


* It can greatly improve battery power.
* It can eliminate the need for backlighting unlike traditional LCDs.
* It will allow for higher-resolution screens with improved color gamut than other display technology.
* Micro-LED provide two/three times the brightness of their OLED counterparts under the same power consumption.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
BvizioN Avatar
80 months ago
I'm just so curious to see how much better this is compare to OLED.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)