Apple in talks with PlayNitride to secure MicroLED supply for Apple Watch

Posted:
in General Discussion edited April 5
Apple may be preparing to add Taiwanese firm PlayNitride to its partners on what appears to be a growing MicroLED initiative for future devices, according to a recent report.




The two companies are in "preliminary talks" for some form of cooperation, DigiTimes said, citing industry sources. The rumor comes in the context of Taiwan's Ministry of Science and Technology approving a PlayNitride application to invest $17.1 million in new facilities at Hsinchu Science Park, where it will produce MicroLEDs, panels, and display modules.

DigiTimes often provides solid information on the Apple supply chain, but can be unreliable when it comes to Apple's future product plans.

Apple's main partner in MicroLED production could be TSMC, which already manufactures A-series processors for iPhones and iPads. The latter company may start production as soon as this year, working on panels for the Apple Watch and even a rumored augmented reality headset.

The cost of MicroLED could limit Watch use to higher-end models. It is however said to enable brighter yet thinner and less power-hungry displays, which would explain things like Apple's LuxVue takeover in 2014 and the establishment of a secret facility for the technology just 15 minutes from Apple Park in Cupertino.

MicroLED could be especially important in a headset, where room for batteries would be at a premium. Apple typically isn't expected to ship that product until at least 2020, which could give the company and its partners a chance to refine MicroLED and make it cost-effective.

The headset could run fully independently of an iPhone, using a mix of Siri, head gestures, and a touch panel for control. Apple is thought to be developing a custom OS, internally nicknamed "rOS" for "reality operating system."

MicroLED may eventually make it to bigger devices such as iPhones, but even OLED is just now making it into Apple devices with the $999 iPhone X, since it delivers a serious hit to profit margins.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 12
    mystigomystigo Posts: 97member
    I really hope Apple goes all in on MicroLED. This technology is the next wave. Ultra low energy, ultra high contrast, no back lighting, extremely bright, very pure color reproduction, extremely high resolution. It puts everything that came before it to utter shame. I know it won't be available on a laptop for many years to come, but it will be worth the wait, and if Apple can shorten the wait time, even better.
    DAalsethwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 12
    wood1208wood1208 Posts: 1,358member
    It is upto OLED supplier to be price competitive and nice to Apple otherwise Apple could push the MicroLED schedule closer to replace OLED in iPhone. It is proven that MicroLED panels can scale in size to create future iMAC and TV displays..
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 12
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 28,800member
    Is the “dead pixel” issue more pronounced or less pronounced than in current Apple displays?
  • Reply 4 of 12
    seankillseankill Posts: 337member
    Hopefully they can avoid the burn in problems of OLED.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 12
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 30,316member
    I doubt Apple would produce this if it costs 400-600% more than the already expensive OLED. What percentage of the watch price is accounted for by the OLED screen? Is that 10%, 20, 30, 40? I spent $1,100 for my Apple Watch with black stainless case and bracelet. That’s expensive for a smartwatch, unless it’s a halfway thing from a high end mechanical producer.

    how much more would this cost? If it’s 50% more, it would be a hard sell. If it’s 10% more, it would work, if it’s noticably brighter than the 1,000 nuts of mine, and lead to a real increase in battery life. I get a bit over two days. If this gave me three, I would do it for 10% more.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 12
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 30,316member

    Is the “dead pixel” issue more pronounced or less pronounced than in current Apple displays?
    If you’re talking about the non existent MicroLED display, then since it doesn’t actually exist as a product, who’s to say? But I haven’t gotten a bad pixel in a long time. I assume that this would be no different.
    SpamSandwichwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 12
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 28,800member
    melgross said:

    Is the “dead pixel” issue more pronounced or less pronounced than in current Apple displays?
    If you’re talking about the non existent MicroLED display, then since it doesn’t actually exist as a product, who’s to say? But I haven’t gotten a bad pixel in a long time. I assume that this would be no different.
    Presumably MicroLED displays have been manufactured by someone, somewhere... or are they a completely theoretical display technology?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 12
    foggyhillfoggyhill Posts: 4,584member
    melgross said:
    I doubt Apple would produce this if it costs 400-600% more than the already expensive OLED. What percentage of the watch price is accounted for by the OLED screen? Is that 10%, 20, 30, 40? I spent $1,100 for my Apple Watch with black stainless case and bracelet. That’s expensive for a smartwatch, unless it’s a halfway thing from a high end mechanical producer.

    how much more would this cost? If it’s 50% more, it would be a hard sell. If it’s 10% more, it would work, if it’s noticably brighter than the 1,000 nuts of mine, and lead to a real increase in battery life. I get a bit over two days. If this gave me three, I would do it for 10% more.
    I think the Oled panel is supposedly $25 bucks, so that would be say $100-$150 bucks for Microled panel, which is not reasonable for the sport watch but works for the Stainless Steel watch. Long term as yields increases it would get to the sport watch.

    It helps with battery life in giving more light for less power AND being a smaller display internally. I think that at the same intensity and usage, you'd probably get to 4 days with this tech in the same size watch.

    But, that's academic, the most important thing is that merely charging it 10-15 minutes a day, you'd be able to never have to do a full charge again (that's actually better for the battery anyway).
    edited April 5 watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 12
    melgross said:
    I doubt Apple would produce this if it costs 400-600% more than the already expensive OLED. What percentage of the watch price is accounted for by the OLED screen? Is that 10%, 20, 30, 40? I spent $1,100 for my Apple Watch with black stainless case and bracelet. That’s expensive for a smartwatch, unless it’s a halfway thing from a high end mechanical producer.

    how much more would this cost? If it’s 50% more, it would be a hard sell. If it’s 10% more, it would work, if it’s noticably brighter than the 1,000 nuts of mine, and lead to a real increase in battery life. I get a bit over two days. If this gave me three, I would do it for 10% more.


    Soli had asked the same question on a previous thread - what percentage of the watch price is accounted for by the OLED screen and how will the 400-600% factor in to the overall cost of the Watch?

    I don't have the answer, but the 400-600% figure came from DigiTimes, so I think it can be taken with a grain of salt.

    I bought the Black Stainless Steel Watch (Series 2) with the Black link bracelet as well and I think that is the upper limit to what I'd pay for the Apple Watch. I didn't bother picking up the Ceramic Series 3 one.

    I'm not sure how Apple will sell it if it costs more than $1100. They'll probably sell it as "always on". Hopefully, the following generation will see the price come down and the tech trickle down to the Sport version as well.

    edited April 6 watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 12
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 30,316member
    melgross said:

    Is the “dead pixel” issue more pronounced or less pronounced than in current Apple displays?
    If you’re talking about the non existent MicroLED display, then since it doesn’t actually exist as a product, who’s to say? But I haven’t gotten a bad pixel in a long time. I assume that this would be no different.
    Presumably MicroLED displays have been manufactured by someone, somewhere... or are they a completely theoretical display technology?
    Samsung had one during the CES that was huge, and cost something like $125 thousand to $150 thousand. But like most things Samsung, that huge set wasn’t exactly what they said it was. It used small LEDs, but they weren’t true MicroLED.

    otherwise, there is no commercial product that uses true MicroLED technology. I’m also not sure the Samsung was a real product, though it might be a custom order. It wasn't clear.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 12
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 30,316member

    foggyhill said:
    melgross said:
    I doubt Apple would produce this if it costs 400-600% more than the already expensive OLED. What percentage of the watch price is accounted for by the OLED screen? Is that 10%, 20, 30, 40? I spent $1,100 for my Apple Watch with black stainless case and bracelet. That’s expensive for a smartwatch, unless it’s a halfway thing from a high end mechanical producer.

    how much more would this cost? If it’s 50% more, it would be a hard sell. If it’s 10% more, it would work, if it’s noticably brighter than the 1,000 nuts of mine, and lead to a real increase in battery life. I get a bit over two days. If this gave me three, I would do it for 10% more.
    I think the Oled panel is supposedly $25 bucks, so that would be say $100-$150 bucks for Microled panel, which is not reasonable for the sport watch but works for the Stainless Steel watch. Long term as yields increases it would get to the sport watch.

    It helps with battery life in giving more light for less power AND being a smaller display internally. I think that at the same intensity and usage, you'd probably get to 4 days with this tech in the same size watch.

    But, that's academic, the most important thing is that merely charging it 10-15 minutes a day, you'd be able to never have to do a full charge again (that's actually better for the battery anyway).
    The problem is that part cost is not product cost. If a display costs $25, as a part, that means that as a price in the finished product, it would be between the traditional 2.5 to 3.5 times the part cost, therefor costing $62.50 to 87.50 to the consumer. So a $100 screen would cost $250 to 350 to the consumer. That’s way too much.
  • Reply 12 of 12
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 30,316member

    melgross said:
    I doubt Apple would produce this if it costs 400-600% more than the already expensive OLED. What percentage of the watch price is accounted for by the OLED screen? Is that 10%, 20, 30, 40? I spent $1,100 for my Apple Watch with black stainless case and bracelet. That’s expensive for a smartwatch, unless it’s a halfway thing from a high end mechanical producer.

    how much more would this cost? If it’s 50% more, it would be a hard sell. If it’s 10% more, it would work, if it’s noticably brighter than the 1,000 nuts of mine, and lead to a real increase in battery life. I get a bit over two days. If this gave me three, I would do it for 10% more.


    Soli had asked the same question on a previous thread - what percentage of the watch price is accounted for by the OLED screen and how will the 400-600% factor in to the overall cost of the Watch?

    I don't have the answer, but the 400-600% figure came from DigiTimes, so I think it can be taken with a grain of salt.

    I bought the Black Stainless Steel Watch (Series 2) with the Black link bracelet as well and I think that is the upper limit to what I'd pay for the Apple Watch. I didn't bother picking up the Ceramic Series 3 one.

    I'm not sure how Apple will sell it if it costs more than $1100. They'll probably sell it as "always on". Hopefully, the following generation will see the price come down and the tech trickle down to the Sport version as well.

    By the way, I’ve now got my bracelet for about 1.5 years, when I sold my gen 2 to get the gen 3, I kept it. My amazement is that even though I’ve got various shops, where one thing I do is to grind metal, the bracelet, even the clasp which rubs against things, has remained entirely scratch free. I can’t detect even the smallest scratch with magnification. The black diamond coating is really effective. When I sold my watch to,a friend, and I polished it, it was totally scratch free as well. Amazing! When you consider that there are articles on how to remove scratches and scuffs from the natural stainless models, you can really appreciate this.

    back to the screens. I also don’t know how accurate Digitimes is. Sometimes they are spot on, and sometimes not close. Usually they are best at detailing what suppliers are doing. But everything I’ve read says that producing them is hard. I suppose that with experience, as usual, it will get easier, and that means cheaper. How expensive a part could this be? The iPhone X is $100 more. And that’s a $900 product already. Can you add $100 to a $350 product, $200, or more? I don’t think so. This would have to be a luxury option for a while, at least.

    im not so sure this would lead to an always on option. At best, it might add an extra day to practical usage. So from the effective 2 plus days I get now, to a solid 3 days.
    watto_cobra
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