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Apple’s rocky relationship with Samsung is no secret, especially when it comes to iPhone display technology. But now, it seems that Apple is facing more challenges than expected in its development of microLED display technology for the Apple Watch and other products.
According to a report from The Information, Apple engineers are finding the display technology more difficult to develop than anticipated. And to make matters worse, Samsung has been less than cooperative in sharing its manufacturing expertise.
Former Apple employees have revealed that Samsung has barred Apple engineers from entering its factories and has even prevented them from inspecting display components for the iPhone X. In a 2017 incident, Apple engineers flew to South Korea to meet with Samsung’s display division employees but were not allowed to enter Samsung’s facilities, including office buildings.
Samsung’s reluctance to share its intellectual property and manufacturing processes has caused significant challenges for Apple. The company has had to perform more rigorous display tests during product development to identify defects, which would have been easier to spot had Samsung cooperated.
Despite partnering with other display suppliers such as LG and BOE, Samsung remains Apple’s primary supplier, especially for OLED manufacturing for iPhone displays. While LG attempted to provide OLED panels for some iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 models, Apple informed LG that its screens did not meet its standards.
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Apple has been developing microLED display technology for many years, and it hopes to introduce a microLED display in the Apple Watch by 2024 or 2025. However, the company will still need to rely on Samsung for many more years, despite the ongoing challenges in their relationship.
The competition between Apple and Samsung in the tech industry is well-known, and their contentious relationship is not surprising. Still, as Apple continues to innovate and push the boundaries of technology, it will need to find a way to overcome these challenges and develop its own manufacturing expertise to become less reliant on its biggest rival.