Korean suppliers to play a key role in Apple's shift to MicroLED displays

Onur Demirkol
Apr 25, 2023

Apple wants to continue its vertical integration and have more control over its components, but recent reports show that the company still needs other firms' help, at least for a couple more years.

The Cupertino company wants to change its devices' display technology from OLED to MicroLED, and it comes with a cost. Even though the strong push for in-house hardware usage, Apple still relies on Korean companies. According to The Korea Herald, Apple still needs Korean companies' help to complete its shift to MicroLED displays.

Recently, the Institute for Information & Communications Technology Promotion released a report saying that Apple needs a couple of years before it's completely self-sustaining. The IITP said that it will still need Korean display manufacturers like Samsung Display and LG Display for at least 60% of its components.

"Apple is expected to outsource display production to Korean vendors in the coming years to save the costs necessary for mass production. If domestic display makers can outsource Apple's microLED production, it could give them the advantage to catch up with their Chinese rivals," the report said.

MicroLED panels are more expensive compared to the current price of smartwatch panels. That is believed to be the reason behind the delay, as Apple wants to wait until 2025.

Apple microLED displays

Apple to produce its own displays in a couple of years

“Apple’s push for chip independence could weaken the market dominance of fabless companies like Intel, Qualcomm, and Broadcom, and empower foundries such as TSMC," the report continued. The company has been working closely to manufacture all of its components on its own. Recently, the company shifted a gear to complete the Apple Silicon transition, making all of its devices use the same chipset.

Apple has plans to shift its display technology from OLED to MicroLED. The company wants to start the process in 2024 with Apple Watch Ultra, and it will continue to work on its smartwatches for another year. After that, the Cupertino company aims to begin implementing the new display technology to iPhones, iPads, and Macs.

The company started integrating MicroLED displays with Apple Watch in 2015, and it is still trying to switch to OLED on iPad Pro and MacBook models in 2024. We still need a couple of years before Apple starts using MicroLED for these devices.


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