Apple has opened a “secret laboratory” in Taiwan to develop new display technologies, according to a new report, citing sources who are familiar with the company’s plans. The facility employs “at least” 50 engineers who are working to build better displays for iPhone and iPad.
“Apple has recruited from local display maker AU Optronics Corp. and Qualcomm Inc., which used to own the building, the people said,” reports Bloomberg. “Apple began operating the lab this year as it aims to make products thinner, lighter, brighter and more energy-efficient.”
Apple is thought to be working on more advanced LCD displays, as well as OLED displays that are thinner and do not require a backlight. Recent rumors have claimed the company is interested in bringing OLED displays to iPhone in the coming years.
By developing its own display technologies, Apple can reduce its reliance on suppliers like Samsung, LG Display, Japan Display, and Sharp. “Instead, the company can develop the production processes in-house and outsource to smaller manufacturers such as Taiwan’s AU Optronics or Innolux Corp,” adds Bloomberg.
Recent rumors have suggested Apple will remove the headphone jack from iPhone 7 to make it thinner than previous models. It would also need to reduce the size of its new 3D Touch displays to do that, so developing them in-house could make a lot of sense for Apple.
Apple is still seeking engineers for its new plant, which doesn’t look like an Apple facility from the outside.
“A short driveway, a half-dozen steps and sliding glass doors lead to a counter and a receptionist in front of an Apple logo on the wall,” describes Bloomberg. “That sign, and an iMac displaying Apple’s standard visitor registration screen, are the only visible indicators Apple resides here.”