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Apple Secretly Developing Thinner, Lighter MicroLED Cellphone Screens

CUPERTINO (CBS SF) -- According to tech industry insiders, Apple has been secretly developing and testing screens that will revolutionize the cellphone displays.

Cellphones, Olympics, Winter Ceremony, 2018
Fans record with mobile phones at the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games in South Korea. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

The new screens are made using MicroLED technology. They promise to be slimmer, brighter and more energy-efficient than the current OLED displays on consumers' gadgets.

The mere murmur of the tech giant's manufacturing secret sent Asian displaymakers' stocks plunging nearly 5 percent, according to Bloomberg.

Universal Display Corporation, the New Jersey-based developer and maker of the current OLED technology used on Samsung's Galaxy cellphones, tablets and televisions was hardest hit. The news "crushed" shares on Monday, "sending them down as much as 16 percent."

MicroLED is shorthand for microscopic light-emitting diodes. Samsung's new giant 146-inch television, The Wall, brought the technology into the high-end, luxury buyer's lexicon. Apple's technology would put the technology on consumer cellphone screens.

Samsung's The Wall,  MicroLED
Samsung's The Wall, a 146-inch MicroLED television is displayed at the Samsung booth during CES 2018 in Las Vegas. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)

Apple's plan will deal a significant blow to suppliers of LED and OLED technology. Still, economic forecasters may be wearing rose-tinted glasses. The Cupertino-based company could run into quite a few roadblocks as they slouch toward display-making domination.

Bloomberg says the new technology is costly, would demand new manufacturing equipment, even new digs.

Apple's new multi-billion dollar 'Spaceship' campus would be too small to mass-produce the MicroLED-based screens.

Keynote Address Opens Apple Worldwide Developers Conference
An attendee inspects the new iPad Pro during the 2017 Apple Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) in San Jose. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

There has been no official response from Apple about the leak, but Bloomberg's anonymous Apple insider says development can remain in-house.

"We put a lot of money into the facility. It's big enough to get through the engineering builds [and] lets us keep everything in-house during the development stages."

It could be a few years before consumers get their hands on these "next-generation" MicroLED screens.

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