Apple partners with TSMC to develop ultra-advanced displays – Nikkei Asia7 min read

https://asia.nikkei.com/Business/Technology/Apple-partners-with-TSMC-to-develop-ultra-advanced-displays

TAOYUAN, Taiwan– Apple has partnered with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. to establish ultra-advanced display technology at a secretive facility in Taiwan, Nikkei Asia learned.The California tech giant prepares to establish micro OLED displays– a radically different type of display built directly onto chip wafers– with the ultimate goal of utilizing the brand-new technology in its upcoming enhanced truth devices, sources briefed on the matter said.Apple is collaborating with its long time chip provider TSMC since micro OLED screens are not constructed on glass substrates like the traditional LCD screens in smartphones and TVs, or OLED display screens used in high-end smartphones. Rather, these brand-new screens are built straight onto wafers– the substrates that semiconductors are fabricated on– permitting for display screens that are far thinner and smaller sized and utilize less power, making them better for usage in wearable AR gadgets, according to sources familiar with the projects.The project represents a further deepening of Apples relationship with TSMC, the sole provider of iPhone processors, even as the U.S. tech giant works to minimize its dependence on other significant providers. The Taiwanese chipmaking giant is likewise assisting Apple develop its in-house developed main processors for Mac computers.The micro OLED task is now at the trial production stage, sources said, and it will take several years to achieve mass production. The screens under development are less than 1 inch in size.”Panel players are great at making screens bigger and bigger, however when it pertains to light and thin devices like AR glasses, you need a very little screen,” said a source who has direct information on the micro OLED R&D task. “Apple is partnering with TSMC to develop the technology since the chipmakers proficiency is making things great and ultra-small, while Apple is likewise leveraging panel professionals know-how on screen innovations.”Some parts of the prepared microdisplay manufacturing will utilize TSMCs existing chip-production equipment and procedures, sources said.The job is one of 2 being carried out at Apples secretive laboratories in Longtan District in the northern Taiwanese city of Taoyuan. In addition to micro OLED screens, the company is likewise dealing with micro LED technology, and has trial production lines in location for both types, Nikkei has learned.Apples complex in Longtan Science Park consists of a number of unmarked white structures– there is no business logo design or address on the outside, and just an extremely faint apple sign might be seen in the lobby, Nikkei press reporters saw on a current see. Apple signed up a company at the park in 2014, and expanded it in 2020. The complex is within walking distance of TSMCs innovative chip-packaging and testing plant, which lies in the same science park.Apple has actually hired dozens of veterans from Taiwanese display maker AU Optoelectronics to work on the micro OLED task, one of the sources familiar with the scenario stated, in addition to display screen specialists from Japan and elsewhere. Anyone who registers to deal with the program should sign a rigorous non-disclosure agreement that prohibits them from even fulfilling with good friends or associates operating in the tech market, the source added.The U.S. tech giant on Monday published on a Taiwanese job platform seeking applicants to work in Longtan who have proficiency in running OLED vacuum evaporation devices, screening and packaging equipment, and measurement equipment. It is the first time for Apple to hire manufacturing-related workers in Taiwan via public platforms.Apple is not the only business pursuing this brand-new line of screen technology. Sony Semiconductor Solutions, a long time Apple supplier, states it has actually established micro OLED display screen innovation that can be used in AR and VR glasses, as well as for other commercial and customer products.Chinas display national champ BOE Technology Group has partnered with Yunnan North OLiGHTEK Opto-Electronic Technology and U.S.-based Kopin, an ultra-small display screen innovation company, on a joint-venture to establish micro OLED screens for wearable and AR devices.Apples other display screen job at the Longtan school focuses on micro LED innovation, which the business intends to eventually use in the Apple Watch, iPads and MacBooks. Apple has partnered with Taiwanese LED business Epistar to co-develop the technology.Like micro OLEDs, the micro LED task likewise involves some chip production technology. The parts are 100 times smaller than those utilized in LED lighting items and they do not need backlight modules like traditional LEDs and LCDs, indicating the screen can be much thinner. Micro LEDs likewise supply high color contrast and can be used to make collapsible or curved screens, similar to OLED screens.Samsung, Apple, BOE Technology and Chinas largest LED maker Sanan Optoelectronics are all working to make the innovation commercially feasible, however finding a way to mass-transfer countless small parts to a substrate accurately and cost effectively stays a significant hurdle.Apples push to develop these new display screen technologies is part of its efforts to lower its reliance on Samsung Electronics, the global leader in OLEDs– and the U.S. businesss biggest rival in the smartphone arena. The South Korean company is Apples main provider of the cutting edge displays, which are now seen as an essential feature for high-end smart devices. OLED screens are the second-most costly part in the iPhone 12 variety, after the Qualcomm 5G modem.”Not every innovation that Apple develops will be presented or actually used in its items, but the company might tactically use patents for its own patent portfolio and innovation developments to acquire more control in the next generation innovations,” one of the people said.TSMC declined to comment for this story. Apple did not respond to duplicated ask for comment.Eric Chiou, a veteran display analyst at research study company TrendForce, informed Nikkei that Micro OLED might be the most perfect screen innovation for next-generation AR displays as it can make a display screen ultra-small, decreasing the overall weight of the gadget, however also features high-resolution. “The technology is a mix of semiconductor and display manufacturing know-how,” Chiou said.”However, it is presently in its early phase of development. It is not likely Apple could instantly introduce its self-developed technology into its very first AR products in one to 2 years,” the expert added.

TAOYUAN, Taiwan– Apple has partnered with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. to develop ultra-advanced display technology at a deceptive center in Taiwan, Nikkei Asia learned.The California tech giant plans to establish micro OLED display screens– a drastically different type of display built directly onto chip wafers– with the supreme objective of utilizing the brand-new technology in its upcoming enhanced truth devices, sources briefed on the matter said.Apple is collaborating with its longtime chip provider TSMC since micro OLED displays are not developed on glass substrates like the standard LCD screens in mobile phones and TVs, or OLED screens used in high-end mobile phones. Rather, these brand-new screens are developed straight onto wafers– the substrates that semiconductors are produced on– enabling for screens that are far thinner and smaller and utilize less power, making them more ideal for usage in wearable AR devices, according to sources familiar with the projects.The project represents a more deepening of Apples relationship with TSMC, the sole provider of iPhone processors, even as the U.S. tech giant works to reduce its dependence on other significant suppliers. Sony Semiconductor Solutions, a longtime Apple provider, states it has developed micro OLED display screen technology that can be used in AR and VR glasses, as well as for other industrial and customer products.Chinas display nationwide champion BOE Technology Group has teamed up with Yunnan North OLiGHTEK Opto-Electronic Technology and U.S.-based Kopin, an ultra-small screen innovation provider, on a joint-venture to develop micro OLED displays for wearable and AR devices.Apples other screen task at the Longtan school focuses on micro LED technology, which the business hopes to eventually use in the Apple Watch, iPads and MacBooks. Apple did not respond to repeated demands for comment.Eric Chiou, a veteran display screen analyst at research study agency TrendForce, told Nikkei that Micro OLED might be the most ideal display screen innovation for next-generation AR shows as it can make a display screen ultra-small, reducing the general weight of the device, but likewise comes with high-resolution.

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