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.

Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Neutral)

Top Rated Comments

fokmik Avatar
38 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
38 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
38 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
38 months ago
Micro LED Macbook Pro? Bring it. My wallet is ready.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Relentless Power Avatar
38 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
38 months ago
I'm just so curious to see how much better this is compare to OLED.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

iphone 6 in hand

Apple Faces Another iPhone Lawsuit Over 'Programmed Obsolescence'

Monday March 1, 2021 6:44 am PST by
Apple faces a new class-action lawsuit that accuses it of deliberately releasing iOS updates that slowly reduce the performance of an iPhone, forcing customers to upgrade their devices. The lawsuit comes from the Portuguese Consumer Protection Agency, Deco Proteste (via Marketeer), which in a statement says that it will proceed with a case against the Cupertino tech giant because it...
PIA23764 RoverNamePlateonMars web

NASA Mars Perseverance Rover Uses Same PowerPC Chipset Found in 1998 G3 iMac

Tuesday March 2, 2021 3:21 am PST by
NASA's Perseverance rover, which recently made history landing on the surface of Mars, is powered by the same processor used in an iMac more than 23 years old. Image Credit: NASA As reported by NewScientist (via Gizmodo), the rover includes the PowerPC 750 processor, the same chip used in the G3 iMac in 1998. The main chipset is the same; however, there are differences between the...
magsafe charging brick feature

Prosser: iPhone 12 MagSafe Battery Pack to Feature Reverse Charging

Monday March 1, 2021 1:18 pm PST by
Apple is working on MagSafe-compatible battery packs that will be compatible with the iPhone 12 models, and leaker Jon Prosser today said on the Genius Bar podcast that one version of the battery pack will feature "reverse charging." According to Prosser, Apple is working on two versions of the battery packs, one that's a standard version and one that's a premium version with reverse...
rosetta 2

Rosetta May Be Removed From M1 Macs in Some Regions on macOS 11.3

Tuesday March 2, 2021 5:20 pm PST by
Installing the upcoming macOS 11.3 software update on an M1 Mac may result in Rosetta 2 being removed in one or more regions around the world. In the third beta of macOS 11.3 seeded to developers for testing today, MacRumors contributor Steve Moser uncovered new strings in the beta's code indicating that "Rosetta will be removed upon installing this update." Another new string reads "Rosetta ...
iphone 12 pro display video

iPhone 13 to Include 1TB Storage Option and LiDAR Across the Board, Says Wedbush Analyst

Monday March 1, 2021 4:00 am PST by
Apple's forthcoming iPhone 13 could include a 1TB storage option for some models and LiDAR Scanners across the entire lineup, according to a report from Wedbush analysts. In a new note to investors, seen by MacRumors, Wedbush analyst Daniel Ives said that initial Asian supply chain checks gave the firm "increased confidence" that Apple's 5G-driven product cycle would extend well into 2022,...
Apple Prefer Lightning Over USB C Feature

iPhone Sticking With Lightning Port Over USB-C for 'Foreseeable Future'

Tuesday March 2, 2021 9:32 am PST by
Apple will retain the Lightning connector on the iPhone for the "foreseeable future," with no intention of switching to USB-C, according to reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. In spite of much of the industry moving toward USB-C, Apple will not be using it to replace the Lightning connector on the iPhone 13, or indeed on any iPhone model for the time being. In a note seen by MacRumors yesterday,...
iphone 12 120hz thumbnail feature

Kuo: iPhone 13 Lineup to Feature Smaller Notch and Larger Batteries, 120Hz Display for Pro Models, and More

Monday March 1, 2021 7:50 am PST by
iPhone 13 models will all feature a smaller notch, while the two Pro models will be equipped with low-power LTPO display technology for a 120Hz refresh rate, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said today in a research note obtained by MacRumors. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Several other sources have previously claimed that some iPhone 13 models will support a 120Hz refresh...
Screen Shot 2021 03 03 at 11

MagSafe Charging Port for iPhone Appears in Apple Patent

Wednesday March 3, 2021 1:30 am PST by
In a newly granted patent, Apple envisions a type of connectivity port using an iteration of its magnetic MagSafe charger to charge an iPhone, potentially paving the way for a future without Lightning. Submitted to the United States Patent and Trademark Office on Tuesday (via Patently Apple), the patent outlines a three-pinned MagSafe charger, similar to the ones found in older MacBook...
apple transfer google photos 1

Apple Launches Service for Transferring iCloud Photos and Videos to Google Photos

Wednesday March 3, 2021 12:04 pm PST by
Apple this week introduced a new service that's designed to make it quick and easy for iCloud users to transfer their stored photos and videos to Google Photos. As outlined in an Apple support document, you can go to Apple's privacy website and sign in to see the "Transfer a copy of your data" option. If you select this and go through all the steps, Apple will transfer your iCloud photos and ...
galaxy s21 iphone 12 pro max front feature2

Kuo: Some 2022 iPhones to Abandon Notch in Favor of 'Punch-Hole' Display

Monday March 1, 2021 8:05 am PST by
At least some 2022 iPhone models will abandon the notch and switch to a "punch-hole display design" instead, similar to Samsung's recent high-end Galaxy smartphones, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said today in a research note obtained by MacRumors. Kuo said the hole-punch display design will be adopted by high-end 2022 iPhones at a minimum, and if production yields are good enough, all 2022 iPhone...