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Apple visits MicroLED suppliers in Taiwan as it looks to make iPhone displays thinner and brighter

Published Aug 30th, 2018 9:31PM EDT
iPhone MicroLED
Image: Shutterstock

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According to a report from the Economic Daily News, Apple this week sent representatives to a premier display conference in Taiwan where they met with a pair of companies — including AU Optronics — to discuss MiniLED and MicroLED display technologies. Hardly a surprise, Apple for years has been exploring ways to make iPhone displays thinner, lighter, and more energy-efficient.

The report claims that Apple is primarily interested in MicroLED displays given that MiniLED is typically viewed as a transitional technology. Notably, this isn’t the first time we’ve seen reports regarding Apple exploring the feasibility of replacing OLED displays with Micro LED technology.

Earlier this year, Bloomberg reported that Apple has a secret manufacturing facility in California where teams of engineers and scientists have been busy researching MicroLED display technologies. Incidentally, the report noted that the initiative has presented its fair share of technical challenges.

The screens are far more difficult to produce than OLED displays, and the company almost killed the project a year or so ago, the people say. Engineers have since been making progress and the technology is now at an advanced stage, they say, though consumers will probably have to wait a few years before seeing the results.

While MicroLED displays offer a number of compelling advantages, including improved contrast ratio and much better power efficiency, we’re likely a good 3-5 years away from the technology actually being used on the iPhone. In the interim, there’s a chance Apple could use the display technology on the Apple Watch. Indeed, Apple engineers have reportedly already figured out a way to successfully incorporate a MicroLED display on the Apple Watch.

The larger takeaway here is that Apple, despite the incredible success and popularity of the iPhone, is still looking for ways to take the user experience to the next level.

Yoni Heisler Contributing Writer

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large with over 15 years of experience. A life long expert Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW.

When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.