Apple has long relied on partners like Samsung, LG, and Sharp for cutting-edge technology to use in iPhones and iPads, but the company is is quietly developing its own brighter, lighter, and thinner iPhone and iPad displays at a new, top-secret lab in Taiwan.
Apple took over a production facility once occupied by Qualcomm and has recruited some 50 workers to develop new OLED (organic light-emitting diode) displays, according to a Bloomberg report. Engineers at the lab are also working on improved LCDs (liquid-crystal displays), which are advanced versions of what Apple already uses in iPhones and iPads.
Of course, Apple isn’t confirming or denying the activities afoot at its new lab.
Why this matters: A lab isn’t a plant, so it looks like Apple will continue to rely on manufacturers like Foxconn to churn out parts. But the company is known for exerting control over every detail of its hardware, so it’s not surprising that it plans to take over such an integral part of the development process. Thinner, lighter displays could mean thinner, lighter iPhones and iPads, or they could free up space for larger batteries with longer life, which is a long-requested feature from even the most diehard Apple fans. Apple clearly recognizes the need for more powerful batteries—the company just last week introduced its first smart battery case for the iPhone.