TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Apple is planning on investing over US$330 million in a factory in northern Taiwan to manufacture both LED and micro-LED displays for its iPhones, iPads, MacBooks, and other new devices.
Apple is teaming up on the new factory with Epistar (晶元光電), Taiwan's top LED producer, and Taiwanese LCD panel maker, AU Optronics (友達光電). The plant will be located in the Longtan branch of the Hsinchu Science Park and Apple's total investment is estimated at NT$10 billion (US$334 million), according to UDN.
Apple has reportedly sent personnel to participate in a development team that includes 200 Taiwanese engineers. Epistar and AU Optronics are joining with Apple in investing in the project.
According to industry analysis, the market for smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices is facing a plateau. Experts believe that the best way to generate demand is to create new advances in hardware specifications.
As Mini LED and micro-LED screens have a number of advantages over LCD and OLED displays, such as being thinner and more energy-efficient, Apple is working on developing new devices that will make use of the new technologies. For example, the power consumption of micro-LED screens is only one-tenth that of LCD displays, and the color saturation is close to OLED.
Like OLED, micro-LED is self-luminous. However, compared with OLED, micro-LED can support a higher brightness, higher dynamic range, and wider color gamut, all the while achieving a faster update rate, wider viewing angle, and lower power consumption, all qualities favored by Apple. However, micro-LED technology is very difficult to develop.
In the early stages, designs will rely on mini-LEDs that are somewhere in between traditional LED and micro-LED technology. However, Apple still considers micro-LED technology to be the "top priority."