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Apple operates secret U.S. facility for making displays

by Justin Herrick | March 19, 2018March 19, 2018 6:00 am EST

Taking over the supply chain is an expensive mission to complete, but Apple believes the benefits are worth any amount of money. The company already designs its own processors for the iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch. Now it appears Apple is setting its sights on another important component. It’s being reported that Apple operates a secret facility in the United States to design and produce displays.

Apple is currently investing heavily in MicroLED panels, according to Bloomberg. The custom technology is more difficult to develop than AMOLED and LCD panels, but the end result is a brighter and more power-efficient display.

The existence of the facility and its purpose are finally known, revealing Apple hosts a bunch of engineers in a discrete Santa Clara building. MicroLED panels are said to be at “an advanced stage” but likely won’t ship for a few years.

As described in the report, MicroLED panels “use different light-emitting compounds than the current OLED displays and promise to make future gadgets slimmer.” Apple, as everyone knows, loves reducing the overall size of devices. But developing the technology has been a difficult process for the company. Although the engineers are making progress now, Apple considered ending the project last year.

If Apple achieves mass production for the technology, it would deliver a significant blow to Samsung and LG. Both of those competitors in the mobile industry also have display-making businesses that have touched Apple’s portfolio in the past.

Late last year, the company did manage to create a fully functional MicroLED display for an Apple Watch. The company reportedly intends to have the technology be available on wearables first. So it’s not like Apple is very far from making this available in consumer-ready hardware. Apple sees what’s working and can improve quality to be ready in a little more than two years.

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Justin Herrick

Justin is easily attracted to power buttons. His interest in technology started as a child in the 1990s with the original PlayStation, and two...