Apple Watch’s screen is already pretty bright, but it could get much brighter with Apple’s new MicroLED technology.Image: Lili Sams/MashableBy Stan Schroeder2018-03-19 09:56:07 UTC
Apple is working on a new type of LED display in a secret facility in California, Bloomberg reported Monday.
The screen tech, called MicroLED, is similar to OLED in some respects (both don’t require backlight and offer better contrast than LCDs) but has better brightness and consumes less energy. However, MicroLED is harder to produce than OLED, which is why the technology hasn’t been successfully commercialized yet.
The fact that Apple is interested in MicroLED isn’t new; the company acquired MicroLED developer LuxVue in May 2014. Back then, rumors had it that Apple will use MicroLED in its then-upcoming Watch, but the company ended up using an OLED screen.
But it appears that Apple never gave up on MicroLED. According to Bloomberg’s report, Apple nearly shelved the project a few years back but the company’s engineers made progress and the tech is now at an “advanced” stage.
Still, it could be a couple of years more until we actually see a MicroLED screen in an Apple product. And when it happens, it’ll likely be on the Apple Watch — Bloomberg’s sources claim Apple had successfully built a MicroLED Apple Watch prototype.
If true, the report means Apple gadgets will have even better, brighter and less power-hungry screens in the future. Also, if Apple succeeds in producing MicroLED displays at volume, it spells trouble for display manufacturers such as Samsung (which currently makes the iPhone X’s display) and LG Display (which makes the Apple Watch’s display).
Samsung, for one, will likely not sit idly and wait until Apple develops superior display technology all on its own. The company has shown a 4K TV prototype using MicroLED technology in January and plans to release launch it this year.