Apple-owned micro-LED display technology earns high praise, seen as potential OLED replacement

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited August 2015
Before Apple acquired low-power display maker LuxVue, micro-LED technology was relatively unknown. But now the display industry is paying close attention, and one expert believes micro-LED could disrupt current LCD screens, as well as OLED displays like on the Apple Watch.




Micro-LED panels are not yet in any shipping consumer products. But a number of small companies have been working with the technology, including LuxVue, which was acquired by Apple last year.

Low-power micro-LED screens could lead to better and more power efficient displays in future devices. And with its acquisition of LuxVue, Apple could be in a position to debut micro-LED technology to the masses.

Last week was the Display Week trade show, where Ken Werner of Display Daily spoke with Candice Brown-Elliott, CEO of Nouvoyance and creator of the Pentile Matrix pixel configuration found in Samsung OLED panels. Brown-Elliott told Werner that micro-LED displays were the only potentially disruptive technology she saw at the show.

"Just as remarkable as this technology's potentially transformative nature is that micro LEDs (or microscale LEDs or ?-ILEDs) were not well known outside of the relatively small community of people who work on them before Apple acquired LuxVue last year, at which point a much wider community started scrambling to learn about them," Werner wrote.

Two experts on micro-LEDs spoke at Display Week, and noted that with current technology, it's difficult to build display panels of any meaningful size. That means it's unlikely that LuxVue technology will power displays for the LCD-equipped iPhone, iPad or MacBook in the near future.

But for smaller displays, micro-LED could become a viable option, and Werner believes the Apple Watch would be a good candidate. Apple currently uses OLED technology for the Apple Watch display, which helps to extend the device's battery life. It is Apple's first device with an OLED display.

Some Apple acquisitions make appearances in the company's products relatively quickly. For example, Apple bought AuthenTec in 2012, and its "Smart Sensor" technology powered Touch ID in the iPhone 5s just a year later.

But other acquisitions and partnerships can take longer to appear. For example, Apple acquired public transit app maker HopStop in mid-2013, but its Maps application won't gain transit directions until iOS 9 launches this fall.

Perhaps most famously --?and hotly anticipated --?is Apple's exclusive arrangement with Liquidmetal, a company that makes a unique but costly metal alloy. Though the partnership with Liquidmetal has sparked rumors and speculation since 2010, the material hasn't appeared in any Apple products in a meaningful way, aside from the iPhone 3G SIM ejector tool.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 32
    dugbugdugbug Posts: 283member
    ah you just had to mention liquid metal :)
  • Reply 2 of 32
    calicali Posts: 3,495member
    If Apple could make a TV with this, then it would disrupt another market again.

    Probably the plan.
  • Reply 3 of 32
    asdasdasdasd Posts: 5,293member
    What's good about em.
  • Reply 4 of 32
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,697member
    Many of these new technologies begin with small companies which aren't financially well enough positioned to take the technology further than the beginning stages. But if a large company sees the potential, buys it, and pours money into R&D, some amazing things can happen.

    We don't know how far this technology had advanced before Apple took them over, and we don't know what Apple has put into it after they did. But building displays is a lot more complex than building sensors.
  • Reply 5 of 32
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,697member
    cali wrote: »
    If Apple could make a TV with this, then it would disrupt another market again.

    Probably the plan.

    I think we're pretty much done with the tv rumors.
  • Reply 6 of 32
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,254member
    melgross wrote: »
    I think we're pretty much done with the tv rumors.

    but ... but ... ;)
  • Reply 7 of 32
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,254member
    melgross wrote: »
    Many of these new technologies begin with small companies which aren't financially well enough positioned to take the technology further than the beginning stages. But if a large company sees the potential, buys it, and pours money into R&D, some amazing things can happen.

    We don't know how far this technology had advanced before Apple took them over, and we don't know what Apple has put into it after they did. But building displays is a lot more complex than building sensors.

    I wonder if this may be used in EVFs or is that a different type of technology? I suspect the growth in mirrorless cameras will drive the need for far better EVF technology at the higher end.
  • Reply 8 of 32
    cnocbuicnocbui Posts: 3,613member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by asdasd View Post



    What's good about em.



    Clicks.

  • Reply 9 of 32
    cnocbuicnocbui Posts: 3,613member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by cali View Post



    If Apple could make a TV with this, then it would disrupt another market again.



    Probably the plan.



    A really, really, really long term plan.

     

    Quote:


     Two experts on micro-LEDs spoke at Display Week, and noted that with current technology, it's difficult to build display panels of any meaningful size. That means it's unlikely that LuxVue technology will power displays for the LCD-equipped iPhone, iPad or MacBook in the near future.


  • Reply 10 of 32
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,128member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by melgross View Post





    I think we're pretty much done with the tv rumors.



    Even Munster finally gave up.

  • Reply 11 of 32
    mike1mike1 Posts: 1,886member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by melgross View Post





    I think we're pretty much done with the tv rumors.

    Agreed. More likely will show up in one or more laptops... at some point.

  • Reply 12 of 32
    asdasdasdasd Posts: 5,293member
    Apple will definitely have a decent TV product someday.
  • Reply 13 of 32
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,128member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by mike1 View Post

     

    Agreed. More likely will show up in one or more laptops... at some point.




    Or possibly an ultra compact, lightweight VR or AR glasses system...

  • Reply 14 of 32
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 3,055moderator
    30 times brighter and 10 times more efficient than other display technologies. Or so I've read.
  • Reply 15 of 32
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,128member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by RadarTheKat View Post



    30 times brighter and 10 times more efficient than other display technologies. Or so I've read.



    Plus, it's much safer than shooting lasers into your eyeballs.

  • Reply 16 of 32
    "The new micro-Color-LCD screen has a color gamut that may or may not be as good as the current screens Apple ships, but which still falls well short of the range of colors in hi end monitors used by pro photographers, cinematographers, and others for whom faithful color rendition is important. Unlike all of you, which is why we didn't even bother to find out or even mention it."
  • Reply 17 of 32
    nolamacguynolamacguy Posts: 4,758member
    cali wrote: »
    If Apple could make a TV with this, then it would disrupt another market again.

    Probably the plan.

    why? would more-power-efficient displays "disrupt" the tv market, and why would building one be apple's plan?
  • Reply 18 of 32
    nolamacguynolamacguy Posts: 4,758member
    asdasd wrote: »
    Apple will definitely have a decent TV product someday.

    they already do.
  • Reply 19 of 32
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member

    Even Munster finally gave up.

    Now he's moved on to content and thinks Apple might get into original programming like Netflix. Grasping at straws.
  • Reply 20 of 32
    crowleycrowley Posts: 5,831member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post



    Perhaps most famously --?and hotly anticipated --?is Apple's exclusive arrangement with Liquidmetal, a company that makes a unique but costly metal alloy. Though the partnership with Liquidmetal has sparked rumors and speculation since 2010, the material hasn't appeared in any Apple products in a meaningful way, aside from the iPhone 3G SIM ejector tool.

    I thought all of the SIM ejector tools were Liquidmetal, not just the 3G?  So they've not actually been using Liquidmetal alloys at all since the late 2000s?

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