A couple of weeks ago, there was a report that Apple is developing its own MicroLED technology. The news came a bit as a surprise, but it's not a major shocker considering Apple's tendency to get rid of as many suppliers as possible by replacing key parts of its products with superior, in-house technology. Now there's a bit more information, DigiTimes picked up word that Apple is working on MicroLED in cooperation with TSMC.
The partnership with TSMC focuses on the development of small-sized MicroLED panels, for use in smaller products like smartwatches and augmented reality devices. The small MicroLED panels feature a silicon-based backplane.
Citing his upstream sources, [Digitimes Research's senior analyst Luke] Lin pointed out that Apple is preparing two sizes of micro LED panels for small-size applications: a 1.3- to 1.4-inch one for its future Apple Watch and a 0.7- to 0.8-inch one for an AR wearable device, potentially AR glasses.
But Apple is also working on larger versions, these are MicroLED panels on TFT-based backplanes. The larger variants will reportedly be used "in products much larger than MacBooks."
The small MicroLED panels for the Apple Watch may enter production as early as the second half of 2018 or in 2019. The large-sized variant may see volume production in 2019 or thereafter. No date is known for the panel for the AR wearable device.
Either way, the analyst believes Apple will exclusively use the MicroLED panels for flagship products. The cost of the MicroLED panel for the future Apple Watch is believed to be 400-600 percent higher than the OLED model used by the existing Apple Watch!