Apple secretly developing screens in unmarked Santa Clara facility

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According to a new report from Bloomberg, Apple is secretly developing its own MicroLED screens to be used on future devices. More importantly, we reported back in November that Apple was working with TSMC on a micro-LED project to enhance manufacturing of future micro-LED displays which up to this point has been very hard to reach mass production status.

MicroLED screens are better than OLED screens because there are slimmer, more energy efficient, and brighter than current technologies as they use a special type of light-emitting LEDs.

A new secret facility that is near the company's headquarters is reportedly going to be making displays for Apple's products, but these will only be for testing purposes. The company is now building engineering samples at a plant in California, but this is considered too small for the commercial manufacturing of the panels. LG Displays makes Apple Watch screens at present. However, the company is expected to deliver MicroLED on the Apple Watch first, since the screen is smaller and therefore easier to control, according to the report.

Besides, the same engineers who have worked on the development of the screen of the first iPhone are running this project. In 2014, the iPhone maker acquired MicroLED firm LuxVue.

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OLED display technology has gained favor among smartphone makers because it offers higher maximum brightness compared with LCD. Another report from Nikkei past year suggested that the firm was working on developing microLED tech for its Apple Watch at a facility in Taiwan. Mass production of screen requires new manufacturing equipment.

The new MicroLED Apple Watch prototypes are not yet fully functional. Until then, Apple will have to continue buying screens from suppliers like Samsung and LG.

As we have mentioned earlier, Apple is likely to purchase as much as 270 million flat panels for the production of iPhone devices this year. The difference will be that the company will have a bigger say in development and the manufacturing process, instead of purchasing technology from companies like Samsung and tweaking the display for color calibration and accuracy. The backplanes, an underlying component that electronically powers the displays, are developed at the Taiwan facility.

Bloomberg discovered the facility in Santa Clara.