Apple is reportedly working on developing its own displays at a secret manufacturing facility in Santa Clara, California.
According to a new report from Bloomberg who cites anonymous sources, the company is making “significant investment in the development of next-generation Micro-LED screens.”
Apple’s new technology, known as MicroLED, has the potential to supplant organic light-emitting diode screens, or OLED, used in the latest Apple devices.
MicroLED is considered the next major leap in screen technology. In addition for enabling brighter panels and being more power-efficient than OLED, MicroLED will also give device makers the flexibility to deliver thinner and differently shaped products.
According to the report, MicroLED is difficult to produce and Apple itself has been facing problems. The company considered ditching the idea last year before making a breakthrough.
After some initial teething problems, the company’s engineers are now believed to be at an advanced stage of production. However, the sources said that the technology is unlikely to make its way onto the iPhone for at least three to five years, adding that the first benefactor is likely to be the Apple Watch.
The development of microLED prototypes is expected to continue at the Santa Clara facility under the leadership of Lynn Young, a long-time Apple employee who spearheaded the work on the original iPhone and iPad touchscreen and is currently overseeing the technology behind iPhone and Apple Watch screens.
Though a spokesperson from the company denied commenting on the plan of introducing a new display, the move could mark a big blow for LG Display, Sharp, Japan Display, and Samsung Electronics – all of which currently provide screen panels for Apple devices including the recent flagship, the iPhone X. By developing its own panels, Apple can cut its competitors out of that equation and produce its own screens.