Dibs! Apple in a microLED display patent fight with Samsung and LG... in Korea


Apple has applied for more than 30 patents on microLED display technology in Korea. Wait, what, isn't that Samsung and LG's home turf? MicroLED just sprung to fame thanks to reports that Apple has built a facility in California to research it, and eventually start producing its own displays for the iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch or Macs of the future. 

As per Kim Jong-chan, chief of the Korean Intellectual Property Office’s display device screening team: "Apple’s application here appears to be due to the presence of Korean tech firms, including Samsung and LG, which may use Micro-LED panel for their devices in the future." You don't say.

Samsung already showcased a huge microLED TV wall prototype, but mentioned that the panels can potentially be produced with any size and on a much larger scale, paving the way for the potential usage in phone, tablet and laptop displays. What's the rush, though, and why are the world's largest phone companies vying for microLED supremacy? Well, how about addressing all of the OLED disadvantages in one fell swoop - microLED screens are much brighter, while at the same time consuming less energy to display a unit of luminance, and don't suffer from the blue or any other LED degradation or burn-in issues.

LG microLED prototype display

LG microLED prototype display


Moreover, one need to look no further than the mutual dependency that Samsung and Apple created for themselves with the iPhone X. Samsung prepped factories to make tens of millions of its 5.8" OLED display panels at double the price of a regular LCD screen, pushing the bill of materials way up, and Apple, in its turn, transferring this increase to consumers with a $999 tag. The thing is, however, that users are increasingly balking at the record average selling prices that phones reached last year, spelling eventual trouble for Apple at the high-end of the market after analysts cut their iPhone X sales estimates for this quarter en masse. This, however, led to overcapacity at Samsung as well, which froze further OLED factory expansion efforts, and even experienced a stock price slide as a result of the flagging iPhone X sales

Depending on a sole supplier is apparently not healthy for both sides, even if the relationship is symbiotic, let alone if the two companies in question are the phone industry's bitterest rivals. That is why Apple may be planning to research and create the screens for its own gadgets, even if it outsources production to other companies in the end, and what better way to coral the market than lay the patent groundwork for the most promising future display technology, in the fight against Samsung's OLED near-monopoly. 

So, when are we likely to see Apple's microLED patents bear fruit in a commercial iPhone? Hold your horses, as Samsung promised to show some prototypes this month, while Apple's research may still be in the lab stages, rather than being production-ready, and the Watch may be the first Apple gadget to get a microLED display, just like Apple experimented with OLED on it first. 

source: Korea Herald 

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29 Comments

1. notfair

Posts: 672; Member since: Jan 30, 2017

it will turn out the same way as their saphire plant.

8. DolmioMan

Posts: 289; Member since: Jan 08, 2018

I’d presume Apple gave up on that because harder crystals are more prone to fracture with is also why they prefer the sapphire crystal blend in their camera lens. This will happen.

28. cheetah2k

Posts: 2140; Member since: Jan 16, 2011

Apple's research involves a team of patent trolls and copying others technology.. then 10 years later, release their copied technology all the while their lawyers get to work suing others for patent infringement.. Yeah boi. history repeating again.. LOL

2. Wickedsamaritan

Posts: 73; Member since: Aug 11, 2017

They've made almost a trillion dollars using others manufacturers components, yet that's not enough Greed 2.0

14. bucky

Posts: 3771; Member since: Sep 30, 2009

I can’t tell if you’re serious

17. TitaofManila

Posts: 34; Member since: Mar 17, 2018

I dont understand the greed you are talking about? Apple has so many employees under its wings which has families and Apple help them to feed their families thru employement Apple buys components to other companies that helps other companies earn profits and provide salaries to their employees among others And with any other companies Profit is big part of the equation and yes they have so much money which shows how effective their strategies are and so with any other companies. Apple just like any other companies create opportunities.

24. NarutoKage14

Posts: 1266; Member since: Aug 31, 2016

Only 1-2% of Apple's revenue goes to these families that you speak of. Apple doesn't like it when other companies make money. Before buying from a supplier Apple demands to know what the total manufacturing cost per piece will be. It will then only allow about a 5% profit margin at most when making a deal.

29. AVVA1

Posts: 228; Member since: Aug 01, 2017

How did you get to 1-2% source? Why this feels like based more on assumptions?

3. NinoH

Posts: 127; Member since: Feb 09, 2018

Well that is what big companies do!?! Invest in technologies that will help them make better products and make a lot of money.Evey single one is guilty of that but only apple is the master of that.

4. Sammy_DEVIL737

Posts: 1475; Member since: Nov 28, 2016

Don’t care who does it first. Progress is most important.

6. Back_from_beyond

Posts: 1077; Member since: Sep 04, 2015

Then isn't the one that does it first who delivers the progress? I have more faith in Samsung doing it right than Apple. Apple will likely just end up buying from the best in the business again, I doubt they wanna put forth the capital to create their own mass production facility. These patent applications are just to try and get a small piece of the MicroLED pie through licensing.

9. DolmioMan

Posts: 289; Member since: Jan 08, 2018

Well Apple are always looking for more vertical integration which is why they axed imagination tech GPUs and why they’re looking for their own display manufacturer. It looks like mLED is end game for the foreseeable future and Samsung is being more reactive to this prospective tech because it threatens their OLED monopoly.

26. conceptvbs1

Posts: 6; Member since: Oct 18, 2017

Samsung is reactionary? Samsung has the most micro LED patents. Period. They've been researching this technology for years, way before Apple started jumping onto it (by buying other companies like Luxvie). They didnt research crap all they did was buy out some other firm. This tells you who the real innovator is: Samsung. If you want to talk about future tech, Samsung is also working on displays with graphene and it also has the most patents for that technology as well. Samsung is reactionary? Really funny statement.

18. Sammy_DEVIL737

Posts: 1475; Member since: Nov 28, 2016

I didn’t meant that, I said I don’t give a damn who does it first but the one who does this right will be the best & it will give the display industry a new way to produce it for more cheaper & high scale rate.

5. limona

Posts: 72; Member since: May 19, 2017

I want to invest in this technologies but all small companies are already bought by Samsung, LG or Apple.

16. bucknassty

Posts: 1254; Member since: Mar 24, 2017

Same... might as well ride this money train

7. wando77

Posts: 1166; Member since: Aug 23, 2012

Apple really annoys me. Samsung has already shown working microled screens and Aplle wish to block them because they have some drawings. For me, if someone has a working model then they should get the patent. I've hated Apple since their rectangle with round corners patent (something all phones have had ALWAYS)

10. DolmioMan

Posts: 289; Member since: Jan 08, 2018

Apple acquired LuxVue in 2014. They don’t just have drawings, fool.

21. xfire99

Posts: 1203; Member since: Mar 14, 2012

Which Apple product have MicroLED display? As long they havent released any finsihed MicroLED display product and its still in drawings.

27. conceptvbs1

Posts: 6; Member since: Oct 18, 2017

So they didnt invent crap. They just bought the technology just like how they do with all their other tech.

15. TitaofManila

Posts: 34; Member since: Mar 17, 2018

Say it again without crying

11. Gustavoar

Posts: 22; Member since: Jan 13, 2016

"Samsung prepped factories to make tens of millions of its 5.8" OLED display panels at double the price of a regular LCD screen, pushing the bill of materials way up, and Apple, in its turn, transferring this increase to consumers with a $999 tag." So now it's Samsung fault that it charges that amount. If you see reports of phone costs, the Galaxy S9 costs practically the same of the iPhone X and yet, the final price is much less compared to it. So now it's other companies faults that Apple is so greedy.

12. RoboticEngi

Posts: 1250; Member since: Dec 03, 2014

So Samsung has shown a working prototype, LG has sjown a working prototype. And apple has shown nothing. Still they are granted patents....typical apple hypocracy

19. Sammy_DEVIL737

Posts: 1475; Member since: Nov 28, 2016

But Samsung & LG both have shown their prototypes with a bigger screen display and Apple is going to do it in a smaller display.

13. Boast_Rider

Posts: 501; Member since: Sep 14, 2017

We are still 3-4 years away from microLED in a phone form factor, and even that might only be 720p. 1080p and QHD will still take a couple more years. MicroLED is the future, and that's why Apple is investing in it. They are companies, and their motive is to make money, especially now that smartphone sales have already reached plateau and are declining.

20. SIGPRO

Posts: 2809; Member since: Oct 03, 2012

Apple will loose! They only copy others, make your own stuff for once!

22. Trex95

Posts: 2314; Member since: Mar 03, 2013

Actually others copied Apple.

23. Tipus

Posts: 765; Member since: Sep 30, 2016

Companys fight, consumer wins :)

25. gamehead unregistered

Less energy while being brighter? Nice

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