Apple's microLED projects and goals have been reported and rumored many times in the past, and now the respected Nikkei Asia newspaper posted an interesting article with new details of Apple's microLED plans. Some parts of this plan were already published by other reporters, note.
According to the new report, Apple is aiming to get more involved in display manufacturing, to increase its control over its supply chain, and reduce its reliance on Samsung Display specifically. Apple has decided, therefore, to handle the LED transfer (pick-and-place) process by itself, at its R&D facilities in Longtan, Taoyuan, Taiwan.
Apple signed up several suppliers for its project: ams-Osram for the LED wafers, LG Display for the backplane glass, and TSMC for drivers (produced on 12-inch wafers). But Apple will integrate all these components and perform the main part of the transfer process in-house. Apple is working with equipment makers (and even designed some of the required equipment itself) to develop a complete process.
The report says that the transfer will be handled at Apple's R&D center. This is interesting - it could mean that Apple aims to start with low-volume production (which makes sense as initially the price of its microLED displays will be very high. It could also mean that Apple's plan is currently just to develop technologies and produce samples and prototypes, and will move mass production to another company - as it uses FoxConn for example to handle iPhone assembly.
According to the new report, Apple's plan is currently to release its first wearable device with a microLED display by 2025. This was, also, mentioned before - and it seems as if Apple has pushed back its plans several times, as the original plan was to start production in 2023 or 2024.
According to earlier reports, AUO and Epistar were also part of Apple's microLED project plans, but maybe these two companies are not working with Apple any more, it is not clear.