Even though we supposedly hit peak iPhone years ago, no one really bothered to tell Apple. On the contrary, Apple continues to spend billions on R&D every year, and the company in recent years has shown a considerable interest in developing next-gen display technologies. Even though the iPhone X represents the first iPhone to ship with an OLED display — a display which may very well be the best OLED-based smartphone display we’ve ever seen — Apple is already angling to figure out what comes next.
Over the past few years, Apple engineers has been busy exploring Micro LED display technology, hardly a surprise given Apple’s obsession with developing thinner, lighter, and more energy efficient displays. Just a few months back, Apple reportedly placed an order for a batch of Micro LED displays for testing amid reports that Apple may incorporate the display technology into its product line as early as 2018. Specifically, the next-gen Apple Watch may be the first device to feature Micro LED technology.
Now comes word via Digitimes that Apple is shifting the focus of its R&D efforts from its Taiwan based research group to the company’s Cupertino campus. At the same time, Apple is said to be holding talking with TSMC to resolve some manufacturing bottlenecks.
Apple has reportedly downsized its R&D team for development of Micro LED display products in Longtan, northern Taiwan, due to issues related to mass transfer of Micro LED chips onto receiver substrates, according to sources from Taiwan’s upstream LED suppliers.
The slow progress in the development of the mass transfer technology is believed to impede related panel makers from realizing volume production of Micro LED panels in the short term, and therefore persuading Apple to realign the personnel of the Micro LED team, said the sources.
Apple is reportedly still interested in Micro LED though it remains to be seen when we’ll see it on a shipping product.