In a nutshell: Apple has reportedly partnered with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) on the development of advanced micro OLED displays at a top secret facility in Taiwan. The tech is still years away from reaching consumer devices but when it does, it should result in dramatically thinner screens with lower power requirements.
Sources briefed on the matter told Nikkei Asia that Apple aims to use the displays in upcoming augmented reality devices.
As the publication explains, the micro OLED displays are not built on glass substrates like those found in TVs and smartphones. Instead, they are built directly onto chip wafers, the same substrates that semiconductors are made on. This means they are far thinner and smaller than traditional displays and consume less power, too, making them ideal for use in a wearable device like an AR headset or perhaps even a mixed reality device.
This is notably different from the micro LED technology that Apple is also developing, Nikkei noted. A key motivating factor behind both projects is to reduce Apple's reliance on Samsung as a supplier of display tech.
Apple is no stranger to doing business with TSMC. The contract manufacturer is responsible for supplying Apple with the processors used in its iPhones and is also helping to make Arm-based chips for Macs.
Sources claim the micro OLED project is in the trial stage of production, meaning mass production is still likely several years out.