Apple is secretly working with TSMC on micro OLED displays for Apple Glasses. This is an advanced form of OLED display in which the display is built directly into chip wafers.
While Samsung is the leader in OLED display technology, Apple is collaborating with TSMC here since micro OLED displays are different from smartphone OLED panels which are made on glass substrates. Instead, micro OLED are fabricated directly on wafers making them thinner and more efficient than traditional OLED panels. This also makes them suitable for use in AR devices where power consumption is of prime importance. The displays Apple is working on are less than 1 inch in size.
“Panel players are good at making screens bigger and bigger, but when it comes to thin and light devices like AR glasses, you need a very small screen,” said a source who has direct information on the micro OLED R&D project. “Apple is partnering with TSMC to develop the technology because the chipmaker’s expertise is making things ultra-small and good, while Apple is also leveraging panel experts’ know-how on display technologies.”
As per sources, the micro OLED project is currently in trial production stage and it will take several years to reach mass production. Apple has hired dozens of engineers from AU Optoelectronics to work on its micro OLED project along with display experts from Japan. Anyone signing up for the program must sign a NDA which even prevents one from meeting their friends from the tech industry.
This micro OLED is one of the two secret projects Apple is working on at its secretive labs in Longtan District in the Taiwanese city of Taoyian. Apple also has trial production line for microLED panels. The company hopes to eventually use microOLED displays in iPads, MacBooks, and other devices.
The company has kept its labs in Longtan Science Park unmarked with no logo or address to keep it away from prying eyes. This complex is close to TSMC’s chip-packaging and testing plant.
Apart from Apple, Sony Semiconductor Solutions is also working on micro OLED display technology for use in AR and VR glasses.
Apple is working on multiple display projects to reduce its reliance on Samsung Display which is currently the leader in OLED technology.[Via Nikkei]