Apple would be on the way to distort company (at least in part) to its supplier Samsung Display by manufacturing by itself the microLED screens of its future generations of iPhone.
After the processors, the screens? It’s been rumored for a while that Apple is secretly working with TSMC to manufacture microLED panels in-house. We learned today from Nikkei Asia that the Cupertino giant’s projects would gradually take shape. According to the Japanese economic media, Apple would soon be able to achieve its goal: to use its own MicroLED screens for the next generations of iPhone. This novelty would allow the group to reduce its current dependence on the Korean Samsung Display, but also to better manage its production volumes and increase its income.
A goal for which Apple would have invested a lot, in every sense of the word. According to sources close to the industry mentioned by MacRumorsthe firm is said to have spent at least $1 billion on research and development over the past decade.
Apple soon manufacturer of screens in addition to the rest
Once production has started, and as the specialized site points out, Apple will have to manage certain crucial manufacturing stages itself, including the “mass transfer” process. Essential and particularly delicate, this step consists of placing several tens of thousands of tiny microLED chips on substrates, as Apple wishes to recall manufacturing its screens using wafers (thin wafers of silicon).
For “supplies”, Apple would also rely on three subcontractors: firstly TSMC for the delivery of wafers 12 nm required for production, but also the German Osram for the microLED components, as well as LG Display for the substrates.
See you in two years?
The mass transfer process would, in any case, be carried out within Apple’s secret R&D premises, located in Taoyuan County (north of Taiwan). And to put the odds on its side, Apple would have designed not only the controllers dedicated to its microLED screens, but also part of the production equipment itself in order to better oversee the manufacturing process. We also learn that the company would have engineers at work in the United States, Taiwan and Japan.
As reminded MacRumors, however, microLED technology remains more expensive to operate than OLED, and is also more difficult to produce. It is for this reason that Apple would first use these in-house manufactured screens on its next generation of Apple Watch Ultra, expected in 2025. Understand by this that the microLED iPhones would not arrive until the following year, at the better.
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