Apple iPhone could soon utilize emerging MicroLED display tech

Apple iPhone could soon utilize emerging MicroLED display tech
Curiously, though we've yet to actually see what Apple has prepared for the impending round of iPhone upgrades, there's been considerable speculation as to the features of next year's handsets. This probably hasn't been helped by the leaks and utterances of experts which, in a joint effort, have managed to paint a rather bleak picture of the upcoming iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. In a report that once again looks to the future, display industry expert Wang Jyh-chau speculates that the iPhone may switch to an emerging display tech called MicroLED within the next few years. 

It is strongly suspected that the 2017 iPhone will see Apple switch from LCD to OLED, as has been reported umpteen times over the past few months alone. But according to Wang — CEO of panel maker Innolux — OLED is not a viable long-term solution for Apple. While the fruit company may utilize OLED to shake things up — 2017 models could even include curved-edge panels à la Samsung's Galaxy Note 7 — it supposedly cannot unseat LCD in for performance-to-cost ratio nor reliability says Wang. Moreover, global supply of smartphone-ready OLED displays is said to be running low, which would be problematic for Apple in the long run.

Enter MicroLED, a work-in-progress that Apple has had a vested interest in for a few years now. Back in 2014, it acquired Silicon Valley-based LuxVue Technology, a start-up recognized as a pioneer of MicroLED. Late last year, it was suggested that Apple had begun a secretive project in Taiwan focused on MicroLED's development, while next year's Apple Watch could be among the first recipients.

MicroLED is said to offer many potential benefits over current display tech, though there are also a few cons. Notably, MicroLED is more power-efficient than its peers. It also takes some of the advantages of OLED — pure blacks, quick refresh rates — and aligns them with perks of LCD, like better brightness. MicroLED is pricier and more difficult to produce in the kinds of quantities Apple will require. But the supposed performance rewards explain why Apple has gone to the trouble of acquiring LuxVue, whilst keeping its Taiwan-based R&D plant under wraps. 

Essentially, Apple needs to get to a stage where it can churn out a lot of MicroLED panels at a cost that makes economic sense. Should such efforts materialize, it's quite possible that the company's proposed move to OLED next year will be a short-lived love affair. 

source: Digitimes via TheNextWeb

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46 Comments

1. techperson211

Posts: 1280; Member since: Feb 27, 2014

Hopefully that design is not the ip7. After the ip5 and 5s their design is horrible. Eitherway, it'll sell.

16. j2001m

Posts: 3061; Member since: Apr 28, 2014

So what, Samsung is working on qled, try harder apple

22. bobby84

Posts: 595; Member since: May 13, 2016

I don't know why Apple wants to invest in new tech. Because the iSheeps would buy it anyway.

24. AmashAziz

Posts: 2934; Member since: Jun 30, 2014

What do u expect them to do, rely on the old ips lcd? That was a stupid question from u! Its a part of their business to invest in new technology.

25. darkkjedii

Posts: 31529; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

He's trolling dude, pay him no mind. He has no life.

26. AmashAziz

Posts: 2934; Member since: Jun 30, 2014

I get it man. But one should atleast troll in a way which seems legit, not idiotic!

29. bobby84

Posts: 595; Member since: May 13, 2016

Is it really trolling? Am i'm wrong? A iSheep will by a Apple product no matter what. A isheep is someone who blindly by Apple and that's who i'm referring too. That's why I'm using the word iSheep.

32. darkkjedii

Posts: 31529; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

"A iSheep will by", is plain wrong. "A iSheep will by a Apple product no matter what", is plain wrong. "A iSheep who blindy by Apple and that's who i'm referring too", is plain wrong.

37. bobby84

Posts: 595; Member since: May 13, 2016

You need to research what an iSheep is.

39. AmashAziz

Posts: 2934; Member since: Jun 30, 2014

First research on urself, before teaching others.....

40. bobby84

Posts: 595; Member since: May 13, 2016

Said the person with the Apple logo, lol. Of course you would disagree about iSheeps. Hum, wonder why?

38. AmashAziz

Posts: 2934; Member since: Jun 30, 2014

You probably donot understand the word 'trolling'.

2. vliang86

Posts: 337; Member since: Oct 05, 2015

MicroLED is going to be better than AMOLED.

3. sgodsell

Posts: 7514; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

They are both OLED. However there is a difference manufacturing process between the two, and different materials. Unlike OLED, mLED is based on conventional GaN LED technology, which offers higher total brightness than OLED products, as well as higher efficiency in terms of lux per Watt. But if OLED goes smaller as well then the higher efficiency should roughly be the same as mLED. The brightness is a difference story, but time will tell.

5. Nopers unregistered

Thank you sir Wikipedia.

18. j2001m

Posts: 3061; Member since: Apr 28, 2014

So what, Samsung is moving to qled by then anyways and before that rgb oled

4. zeeBomb

Posts: 2318; Member since: Aug 14, 2014

MicroLED sounds like branding over a type of OLED... maybe PCOLED.

6. roldefol

Posts: 4744; Member since: Jan 28, 2011

Does MicroLED have any associated burn-in like OLED?

9. Unordinary unregistered

Thats one of the benefits. Better efficiency

11. roldefol

Posts: 4744; Member since: Jan 28, 2011

Thank you for not just being a burn-in denier. I was half expecting flames.

15. Unordinary unregistered

Happened to a buddies Note 5 (after 8ish months of heavy use). Happens, and it sucks :(

7. VZWuser76

Posts: 4974; Member since: Mar 04, 2010

I'm wondering if they're going to run into the same issues with this as they had with sapphire glass. With it being hard to manufacture, and the quantities Apple's will require for devices like the iPhone, low yields could relegate it's implementation to devices that sell in lower numbers like the Apple Watch. And like sapphire glass, I'd imagine that the larger the panel, the smaller chance it will operate correctly. Maybe with a few years in the Watch, it will give them the knowledge to better manufacture larger panels.

8. No_Sammy_No_Gimmicks

Posts: 153; Member since: Jun 10, 2015

MicroLED is not the same as OLED, please just google so you can understand.

10. jerrycutshaw

Posts: 48; Member since: Apr 27, 2011

IPhones cost something like $200 in parts. By the time you factor in R&D, volume discounts and (very low) labor the are still making a 200-250% profit. I'm a conservative capitalist but even to me this seems excessive. If the real reason for MicroLCD is really cost they are just being greedy.

12. ctdog4748

Posts: 797; Member since: Mar 05, 2016

So then you're not really a conservative capitalist, except when it suits you. If you REALLY were a conservative capitalist, you'd have zero problems with Apple, or any other company, making as much profit as they could without breaking any applicable laws.

13. kiko007

Posts: 7520; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

^ This guy......this guy gets it :D.

17. tedkord

Posts: 17452; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

Including pharmaceutical companies that jack up prices on life saving medicines Dunphy because they can?

20. kiko007

Posts: 7520; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

There are laws in place to keep stuff like that from becoming the norm.......just sayin'.

27. VZWuser76

Posts: 4974; Member since: Mar 04, 2010

There are? I take it you've never had to buy some of those kind of drugs. I know quite a few people where the choice is go broke or die. Just look at the Epi-pen scenario going on right now. The costs have gone up something like 200-250%. IIRC the new price is in the $400-500 range, and the actual medicine itself is less than $10, the injector is the expensive part. And the fact that the shelf life is only a year and it's a one use and done item makes that even worse. I have a nephew who has severe allergies, and I doubt they'll be able to afford it. That's just one example. Heart, cancer, and other specialty medications are being priced out of most people's budgets.

28. kiko007

Posts: 7520; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

Is this a global phenomenon? Sorry, I don't know much regarding pharmaceutical news. I'm kind of uninformed honestly. I was under the impression that U.S. healthcare laws prevented such things, at least in mass quantity.

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