May 18, 2023 – In the ever-evolving landscape of technology, Apple has been making substantial investments in the development of microLED technology over the past decade. These investments have amounted to at least $1 billion, paving the way for exciting advancements in display technology.
MicroLED, a promising innovation, has presented Apple with significant challenges in its quest for self-produced microLED panels. The main hurdle lies in the miniaturization of the microLED panel’s controlling chips, which are a mere one-hundredth the size of traditional LED panel chips.
Recognizing the need for collaboration, Apple has leveraged its mature supply chain to propel the practical implementation of microLED panels. Collaborations with suppliers such as ams-Osram have led to the joint development of microLED components, while LG has provided essential substrates, and TSMC has contributed semiconductor wafers.
Apple’s dedication to microLED technology extends beyond partnerships, as they have also designed the integrated circuits that drive the microLED panels. In conjunction with various suppliers, Apple has worked tirelessly to develop the necessary equipment required for mass production, effectively increasing microLED panel manufacturing capacity.
A recent paid article from DigiTimes shed light on Apple’s future plans to upgrade iPhone screens from OLED to microLED. This transition promises enhanced brightness, reduced power consumption, and improved contrast ratios, among other benefits. However, it is expected that Apple’s vision for microLED will first materialize in the Apple Watch Ultra around 2025, with the integration into iPhones projected to take several more years. Consequently, OLED panels will continue to be utilized in iPhones for the next few years.