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Apple partners with TSMC to develop OLED displays for AR devices


Apple has partnered with Taiwan semiconductor manufacturer TSMC to develop Micro OLED AR screens at a secret facility in Taiwan, according to a new report in the Nikkei Asia Review.

Apple plans to develop Micro OLED screens — a completely different type of screen — with the ultimate goal of using new technology in upcoming AR devices.

Apple has been collaborating with its chip provider TSMC for a long time because Micro OLED monitors are not built on glass substrates such as traditional LCD screens in smartphones and TVs, or OLED screens used in sophisticated smartphones.

Instead, these new screens are built directly on chips — the substrates on which semiconductors are manufactured — allowing for smaller, smaller screens that use less power and are more suitable for use in AR wearables.

The project further deepens Apple's relationship with TSMC, the only supplier of iPhone processors, even as the U.S. technology giant works to reduce its reliance on other major suppliers.

Taiwan's chip maker is also helping Apple build centralized processors designed internally for Mac computers.

Micro OLED has now begun the pilot production phase, taking several years to achieve mass production, and the size of the screens under development is less than one inch.

It needs a very small screen when it comes to slim and light devices, such as augmented reality glasses.

Apple is collaborating with TSMC to develop technology because of its experience in making things very small.

Some parts of the planned mini-screen manufacturing processing use TSMC's current chip production and production processes.

The project is one of two projects being implemented at Apple's secret laboratories in the Longan area of Taiwan's northern city of Taoyuan.

In addition to micro OLED screens, the company also works on micro-LED technology and has experimental production lines for both types.

Micro OLED technology may be the most ideal display technology for next-generation AR screens because it can make the screen very small, reducing the overall weight of the device and providing high resolution.

However, it is currently in its first phase of development, and Apple is unlikely to immediately introduce its self-developed technology in the first AR products within one to two years.