Apple and Micro-LEDs
April 24, 2017
Taiwan and Korean trade press have indicated that Apple will be testing the use of micro-LED technology in the 2018 version of the Apple Watch, with the basis for the speculation a comment from IDC. The focus is a plant in the Hsinchu Science Park in Taiwan, which was opened in 2015 and purchased from Qualcomm. The Apple name never appeared on the factory. The theory is that Apple will substitute micro-LED based displays for the OLED displays that are currently being produced for Apple by LG Display and should the test prove successful, the technology could be adopted for other mobile devices. The plant in Taiwan will be producing a relatively small quantities needed for the Apple Watch. We have noted a number of issues that surround the use of micro-LEDs in previous notes and believe that Apple has always extended its R&D reach to encompass all potential display technologies. However producing a relatively small number of specific devices does not mean there is a clear path to mass production and widespread adoption. Even if the ‘test’ is successful (more from a manufacturing standpoint, as consumers would see little difference), high volume production of micro-LEDs for larger displays would not be available until after 2020, assuming the manufacturing issues could be addressed.