Apple is reportedly planning to build more of the components used in its products in-house.

The company has long relied on third-party manufacturers for chips, displays, and other components. But after transitioning most of its Mac line of computers from Intel processors to Apple Silicon, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman reports the company has its sights set on two other areas: displays and wireless chips.

Apple Watch Ultra (current-gen)

According to Gurman, Apple has been working toward making its own microLED displays since 2017 (we first reported on it in 2018). But he says the new displays could be coming soon(ish), with Apple expected to launch a new version of the Apple Watch Ultra featuring the company’s own microLED display in 2024.

If that product meets expectations, we could eventually see Apple-made microLED displays in iPhones, iPads, and Macs.

Gurman notes that Apple is also working on its own wireless chips. One would be a cellular modem, while the other is a WiFi & Bluetooth module. Currently Apple uses chips from Qualcomm and Broadcom for these functions. Developing its own wireless chips would allow the company to add new features, fine-tune performance, and generally lay out its own roadmap rather than relying on other companies. But it’s also part of a trend of Apple taking more control over the components used in its devices.

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6 replies on “Report: Apple to build its own microLED displays and wireless chips”

  1. How vertically integrated can Apple go? They’re practically the Luxottica of the electronics world by now. They own many levels of their component manufacturing, and they own their own retail stores.

    The only thing missing is that they still outsource for assembly, but they won’t do that. It’s somehow a better PR scenario to pay someone else to get blood on their hands.

    Maybe someday they’ll own the mobile networks too. And a chain of augmented reality gyms that you use your Apple Watch within. Then we’ll drive our Apple Cars to our Apple Homes, and watch our Apple TVs. Product/service ecosystems are a really boring dystopia.

    1. And only consuming Apple-approved content.
      But it’s okay, because you can call anyone who doesn’t want to be a part of that an idiot and a loser, and they’ll really feel like it too.

  2. I wonder if Apple lowers taxation outside the US by having design centers in other countries. I don’t believe that Apple can make better or cheaper components on their own, so it would have to be some other reason to increase their number of employees.

    1. I don’t think cheaper is the primary goal, although I’m sure cost is a factor. I think the attraction to Apple is reliability and capability in their supply chain.

      By making their own components, the pricing, availability, and manufacturing capacity aren’t influenced by the business decisions of someone else. When they want to design a new product, the speed to market, and the capacity of manufacture will always depend on someone else who has other clients.

      For example, with display panels the determining factor is likely the capacity of the tooling for whatever scale of pixel density they are using, or the technology behind the display. There are a limited number of MicroLED display makers, and each one of them has a limited capacity for output for different levels of pixel density. If Apple can’t find a single manufacturer to make them enough panels with a given pixel density, and display technology, that means that Apple can’t use that technology on their next product.

      This means that Apple’s ability to bring a new product to market with that technology is throttled by the business relationship they have with their component partners.

      It gives Apple an even playing field with companies like Samsung, who also manufacture their own displays, and wireless chips. Samsung has historically always been ahead of Apple in terms of Display technology. They were using OLED years before Apple was, and their display resolutions have often been double the resolution of Apple’s.

  3. I’d use the phrase “apple-designed” since much like the Apple Silicon chips, I don’t think apple owns/will own the factories for these displays.

    People keep hoping that microled will solve all their social insecurities about backlight bleed, framerates, and burn in, but I don’t think we’ll know until someone actually tries, so at least apple supposedly is, but it’s not like buying a microled laptop would improve my life any.

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