Apple’s recent headlines about their new chip and display technology have been making waves in the tech industry. There is much speculation about the significance of these developments, with some people claiming that they are nothing significant and others claiming that they are a massive deal.
To better understand these changes, it is useful to look at the big picture and see how Apple fits into the larger tech landscape.
At the heart of this discussion is the concept of custom versus off-the-shelf parts. Most smartphones today are made up of a mix of both custom and off-the-shelf components. Off-the-shelf components include things like camera sensors from Sony and displays from Samsung or LG.
Custom components, on the other hand, are those parts of the phone that are specifically designed and manufactured for that particular device. For example, the A16 Bionic chip and the Taptic engine in the iPhone are both custom components.
The advantage of having custom components is optimisation. When all the parts of a device are designed and manufactured specifically for that device, they can be optimised to work together in the most efficient way possible. This optimisation can result in improved speed, efficiency, and battery life.
We saw this when Apple switched from off-the-shelf Intel parts to custom-designed Apple Silicon parts for their Mac computers. The switch was a massive improvement, and Apple’s computers took a quantum leap forward in terms of performance and battery life.
The iPhone is a massive product for Apple, and it represents the majority of their revenue since its launch in 2007. So it makes sense that Apple would want to take back control of as many parts of the iPhone as possible.
This move is a classic Tim Cook supply chain optimisation story, as Apple seeks to improve the efficiency and performance of their flagship product.
One of the recent headlines about Apple is that they are working on their own displays for the iPhone and the Apple Watch. Currently, about 80% of iPhone displays are made by Samsung, with 12% made by LG and 8% by other companies like BOE.
This means that Apple goes to a display manufacturer, tells them what they need, and then the manufacturer fills the order using their own technology. There is some calibration work that needs to be done, but Apple has handled the sourcing so well that there is no noticeable difference between displays made by different manufacturers.
However, there are now rumors that Apple is looking to take the next step and move from slightly customised displays to fully custom displays. They are said to be working on moving from OLED to micro LED, which would represent a major step forward in terms of design and quality for their displays, watches, and phones.
The move to micro LED would give Apple more control over the display technology, allowing them to optimise it for their devices. This would be a major change from the current situation, where Apple relies on third-party manufacturers for their displays.
The second recent headline about Apple is that they are developing a single chip that would combine cellular, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth into one for the iPhone. This chip would represent a significant move towards greater integration and efficiency for the iPhone.
It would allow Apple to optimise the interactions between these different components, potentially improving performance, efficiency, and battery life.
The recent developments at Apple are significant for several reasons. Firstly, they represent a move towards greater control over the iPhone and its components, which will allow Apple to optimise the device for performance, efficiency, and battery life.
Secondly, the move to micro LED displays and the development of a single chip will give Apple more control over the technology used in their devices, which will result in better products for consumers.