Apple appears eager to reduce its reliance on rival Samsung, developing its next-gen micro-LED display tech.
Apple is heavily reliant on Samsung for its displays, despite efforts to diversify its supply chain. Neither LG nor BOE Technology has been able to match Samsung’s quality, leaving Apple dependent on one of its biggest rivals.
According to Nikkei, the company is investing heavily in micro-LED development, intending to perform the “mass transfer” step internally. Nikkei explains what is involved in the “mass transfer”:
The mass transfer step involves moving at least tens of thousands of tiny micro-LED chips onto substrates. This process will be carried out at Apple’s secretive R&D facilities in the Longtan District in the northern Taiwanese city of Taoyuan, according to multiple people with direct knowledge of the project.
The outlet’s sources say Apple has even developed some of the production equipment used in the mass transfer process, all in an effort to have more control over the manufacturing process.
“Apple has spent at least $1 billion on the R&D and samples for micro-LED technologies in the past nearly 10 years,” said a source involved in the project for years. “It wants to secure more control over the next-gen display technologies for its future products.”
It doesn’t mean that Apple will always do the mass transfer on its own. But it shows how determined Apple is to allocate resources to have more control over [these] next-gen display technologies in its own hands,” another of Nikkei’s sources said.
Apple is famous for controlling the whole widget, tightly integrating hardware and software components. Given how expensive displays are, not to mention that Apple’s biggest rival is making them, it’s not surprising the company is making drastic efforts to be more directly involved in the manufacturing process.