CUPERTINO (CBS SF) — According to tech industry insiders, Apple has been secretly developing and testing screens that will revolutionize the cellphone displays.
The new screens are made using MicroLED technology. They promise to be slimmer, brighter and more energy-efficient than the current OLED displays on consumers’ gadgets.
The mere murmur of the tech giant’s manufacturing secret sent Asian displaymakers’ stocks plunging nearly 5 percent, according to Bloomberg.
Universal Display Corporation, the New Jersey-based developer and maker of the current OLED technology used on Samsung’s Galaxy cellphones, tablets and televisions was hardest hit. The news “crushed” shares on Monday, “sending them down as much as 16 percent.”
MicroLED is shorthand for microscopic light-emitting diodes. Samsung’s new giant 146-inch television, The Wall, brought the technology into the high-end, luxury buyer’s lexicon. Apple’s technology would put the technology on consumer cellphone screens.
Apple’s plan will deal a significant blow to suppliers of LED and OLED technology. Still, economic forecasters may be wearing rose-tinted glasses. The Cupertino-based company could run into quite a few roadblocks as they slouch toward display-making domination.
Bloomberg says the new technology is costly, would demand new manufacturing equipment, even new digs.
Apple’s new multi-billion dollar ‘Spaceship’ campus would be too small to mass-produce the MicroLED-based screens.
There has been no official response from Apple about the leak, but Bloomberg’s anonymous Apple insider says development can remain in-house.
“We put a lot of money into the facility. It’s big enough to get through the engineering builds [and] lets us keep everything in-house during the development stages.”
It could be a few years before consumers get their hands on these “next-generation” MicroLED screens.