According to reports, Apple has opened a production laboratory in Taiwan with a focus on developing better display technology for its devices.
Located in Taoyuan City’s Longan district, the lab is thought to employ at least 50 people, most of whom have been recruited from Qualcomm (who previously owned the building) and local display manufacturer AU Optronics.
These engineers and other workers are reportedly beavering away on screen tech for future generations of Apple products, in particular iPhones, iPads and Mac computers. The idea is to make screens – and therefore the products they’re found in – thinner, lighter and more energy efficient, as well as brighter.
One interesting claim from Bloomberg’s report is that Apple is keen to move to OLED display tech. Several rival companies, such as Samsung, already use OLED for their high-end mobile devices, but Apple has so far resisted. OLED doesn’t require backlighting, which helps keep displays thinner, and also delivers a punchy, high-contrast image. Some critics feel that OLED image quality is so rich that it lacks realism and accuracy, and this could be a reason behind Apple’s former reluctance to adopt it.
Apple has traditionally made each iteration of its devices thinner and lighter than the last, and the opening of this facility may be a sign that this is becoming an ever trickier task. Bloomberg’s reporter visited the “secret” facility, which lacks any outward signage to identify it as being owned by Apple, and while they didn’t get confirmation from any employees, spotted an Apple logo at reception and Apple IDs on workers taking a smoke break.
So if the iPhone 7 has a skinnier form factor than the iPhone 6s, it may be down to the work going on in this nondescript building 30 miles outside of downtown Taipei.