According to a report by the Korean media outlet The Korea Herald, Apple will still rely on Korean suppliers to develop and mass-produce device screens for the foreseeable future, despite its desire to increase control over product design and promote independent research and development of various components.
The Korea Institute for Information and Communications Technology Promotion (IITP) said that Apple is testing and using its own chip and screen designs on its iPhone models, but that this is mainly at a strategic level to maintain its dominant market position.
IITP said that Apple will source 60 per cent of its screen components from Korean screen suppliers such as Samsung Display and LG Display in the next few years.
IITP believes it may take some time for Apple to fully commercialise its in-house display technology. Watch panels with microLED technology are expected to be much more expensive compared to the current price of smartwatch panels, so the US tech company could be applying the technology after 2025.
Ross Young, CEO of screen supply chain consultancy DSCC, tweeted that Apple’s microLED screens for the subsequent Apple Watch will be made by LG.
[Reports say that 60% of Apple’s screen supply in the next few years will still come from Korean companies like Samsung and LG]
Young tweeted that LG Display is building a small-scale production line to supply Apple with microLED screens. Apple is expected to switch to microLED screens for its Apple Watch in spring 2025.
Young said LG Display will start mass production in the second half of 2024, supplying microLED panels and assembling screen components for Apple Watch for Apple.