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Apple employees in force at Display Week, vastly outnumbering rivals

Engineers and executives reportedly attended this week's Display Week conference in Los Angeles en masse, signaling a strong interest from the company in upcoming display technologies.

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Officials with the expo said that 369 workers were registered to attend, an increase from 280 in 2017. Both numbers vastly outweighed this year's attendance by Amazon, Google, and Oculus, which had 25, 40, and 23 people in that order.

Apple's contingent presented 18 talks, up from 11 last year, but as usual dodged any mention of future products. Some members reportedly expressed interest in the screens of VR headsets made by Japan Display, however, notable given that they support resolutions over 1,000 pixels per inch, about double most current VR helmets. Apple's future AR/VR headset has been rumored as adopting 8K eyepieces when it ships in 2020 or later.

"It's hard to look around without seeing attendee tags with Apple written on them. Apple is clearly making a statement," DisplayMate's Ray Soneira told Bloomberg about Apple's attendance. "Apple is trying to show the display industry that they're a top-tier screen developer now, in addition to being a buyer."

Other staff from the company were said to be looking at the latest Samsung panels. The latter is the exclusive supplier of OLED panels for the iPhone X, and will likely maintain a dominant role with this year's 5.8- and 6.5-inch iPhones, as the only party with large-scale OLED capacity. Apple is also believed to be preparing a 6.1-inch LCD model, which could use LG parts.

In the long run Apple is developing MicroLED technology. It will likely debut first on the Apple Watch, but could be especially useful in products like an AR headset where space, weight, and power consumption come at a premium.