Lucas Riechert - Tuesday 17 January 2023

Apple wants to start making its own screens and chips

From 2024, Apple plans to start using its own microLED screens in devices. So reports Bloomberg journalist Mark Gurman. For instance, Apple might start introducing its own first screens in the new Apple Watch as early as next year. With this, Apple wants to become less dependent on suppliers such as LG and Samsung. In addition, the company also wants to start producing its own chips.

Becoming less dependent on suppliers
For years, Apple has been one of the largest buyers of displays from companies such as LG and Samsung, which are now used in practically all Apple products. From iPhones to Apple Watches, MacBooks to iPads. This is something Apple would like to change by producing its own screens from now on. In doing so, the first screen should possibly enter service as early as next year, in the new Apple Watch. This will then be a microLED screen, a promising technology already seen as the successors to OLED. The microLED technology has the same high contrast and full colours of OLED but with higher brightness and no burn-in dangers. According to insiders, it looks "as if the images have been painted on top of the glass".

Test phase
Apple is currently producing a small number of these screens for testing purposes. According to Gurman, the company is doing this in its own factory near its headquarters in Cupertino, California. Thus, Apple has made the screens itself and also worked out its own manufacturing process, although when it comes to mass production, this will probably have to be outsourced to an external supplier. Currently, microLED is still quite expensive to produce however, like OLED, prices are expected to fall as production increases. Hence, Apple would start on the smallest-sized screen, that of the Apple Watch. This should be followed by iPhones, iPads and, in the longer term, iMacs. This switch would be especially painful for LG, which gets 36% of its (screen) revenue from selling screens to Apple. For Samsung, it is somewhat smaller, as they get 7% of their screen revenue from Apple.

Developing its own chips
In addition, Apple may also want to switch to its own chip next year, according to Bloomberg. This will include a modem for mobile internet via 5G, among other things. Apple also wants to become less dependent for chips for WiFi and bluetooth. In the longer term, Apple would like to make one chip that combines everything; the internet, WiFi and bluetooth. A combined chip would make it a lot more efficient and economical for devices, allowing for longer battery life. This would give the company more freedom in designing its devices without any unexpected surprises. For example, in the past, MacBooks became much hotter than expected because Intel's chips got hotter than calculated beforehand.

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