Samsung‘s role as a display supplier for Apple’s products might end soon as the Cupertino-based tech giant is reportedly building its own display at a secret facility not far away from its California headquarters, recent reports indicate. The display units are being produced in small quantities as these are meant for use in testing, the reports claim. Samsung Display currently supplies OLED panels to Apple after both companies signed a two-year, $9 billion contract in April last year for the supply of small-size, curved OLED screens. However, it was reported last month that Samsung Display faced an oversupply of smartphone OLED panels due to Apple’s recent decision to reduce the production of the iPhone X on account of its lower-than-expected sales, prompting Samsung’s display division to look for potential clients in order to mitigate its losses. Additionally, the adoption rate of OLED panels has been sluggish due because the technology is more expensive than LCD screens.
The small-scale production of screens for its products is part of Apple’s broader effort to develop MicroLED displays, which leverage the kind of light-emitting compounds different from the ones being used in existing OLED screens. On top of the variation in the display type, the use of MicroLED screens also means a reduction in the size of devices while increasing its screen brightness and minimizing power consumption. But the production of this type of display requires huge costs for new equipment and a long span of time for development, which means there’s the risk of having to abandon the endeavor in the future once a new and better type of technology emerges. In fact, Apple has long been considering the project and almost shuttered it in the past. However, thanks to the advancement of the project’s work, the effort has now moved forward, according to a report from Bloomberg, which cites sources familiar with Apple’s latest endeavor.
Lynn Youngs, the Apple head for the iPhone and Apple Watch display technology, is reportedly tasked to oversee the project, internally known as T159. The secretive initiative is said to be taking place inside a 62,000-square-foot manufacturing facility based in Santa Clara, California, with nearly 300 engineers developing and producing MicroLED displays meant for use in Apple’s future device offerings.