Better iPhone, iPad screens in view as reports of Apple's secret Taiwan lab surface

After suggestions that Apple wants to use OLED displays for the iPhone, it now seems the company has a new display research facility in Taiwan.

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Apple is keen to develop "thinner, lighter, brighter and more energy-efficient" displays than the LCDs on the latest iPhone 6s.

Image: Apple

Apple has opened a new lab in Taiwan focused on developing display technology that it can keep for its own devices.

The iPhone-maker opened the secretive Taiwan display lab in April this year at a facility where Qualcomm attempted to develop its power-sipping Mirasol displays, Bloomberg reports.

According to Bloomberg sources, Apple is keen to develop "thinner, lighter, brighter and more energy-efficient" displays than the LCDs on its current generation of the iPhone, iPad, and Mac.

Apple also reportedly hopes to develop organic light-emitting diode (OLED) technology and reduce its reliance on major display manufacturers such as Samsung, LG, and Japan Display.

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LG and Japan Display supplied displays for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus at estimated costs of $45 and $52.50 respectively per unit.

Apple has hired engineers from both Qualcomm and Taiwan display-maker AU Optronics and currently has at least 50 engineers creating new screens for its mobile hardware.

The idea, according to Bloomberg, is for Apple to develop its own display-making processes and outsource production to manufacturers such as AU Optronics.

Apple has previously explored using a sapphire crust to give the iPhone 6 a tougher display, but ended up only using it for the Apple Watch in combination with an OLED display.

News of the Taiwan display facility follow reports from Japan in November that Apple plans to use OLED displays for the iPhone starting in 2018.

Samsung and LG manufacture OLED panels and both make smartphones that use the technology. However, as the Nikkei report noted, only Samsung has the capability to produce them for smartphones at Apple's scale. Besides offering sharper images, OLED displays would reduce the impact of the iPhone's display on battery consumption.

Further evidence that Apple is seeking to build its display capabilities are two job postings for engineers with experience in LCD production, Bloomberg's report also noted.

The facility itself, which Apple moved into in April, lacks any outward sign of its occupant and is tucked discretely in a corner of the Longan Science Park, about 50km from Taipei.

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