DigiTimes: Apple Watch Ultra With MicroLED Display to Launch by 2025

DigiTimes: Apple Watch Ultra With MicroLED Display to Launch by 2025

Taiwanese supply chain publication DigiTimes says Apple will release a new Apple Watch Ultra sporting a microLED display sometime in 2024 or 2025. The publication also says Apple has plans to eventually roll out the technology to its iPhones, iPads, and MacBooks.

Apple has been actively working on microLED technology development since it acquired California-based microLED display manufacturer LuxVue back in 2014. MicroLED displays have the potential to improve battery life while offering a brighter display screen than other technologies. Some reports have said that the displays “make content appear like it’s painted on top of the glass.”

Despite years of development, microLED display manufacturing remains challenging, with high manufacturing costs. This is why it makes sense for Apple to begin rolling out the display technology with Apple Watch Ultra before using it on its larger devices.

Apple has followed a similar path with its OLED displays, first using the technology in its Apple Watch, then expanding OLED display usage to the iPhone lineup. The company is expected to roll out OLED displays to its iPad Pro and MacBook lineups in the near future. More about that later.

While European company ams OSRAM will be the primary supplier of microLED chips for Apple, other Taiwanese suppliers, like Epistar, could provide additional manufacturing capacity for microLED chips by 2026 or 2027, says the DigiTimes report.

We’ve seen several rumors saying a new microLED display-equipped Apple Watch Ultra is on the way, as Display Supply Chain Consultants CEO Ross Young and Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman have both said the microLED transition is on the way. Gurman has said the transition could begin by the end of 2024 or early 2025, while Young gave a 2025 timeframe.

Young said earlier this year that LG is preparing to produce custom microLED displays for future Apple Watch models, but said that LG would likely make the displays for Apple. He said LG would open a facility to supply microLED backplanes and assemble Apple’s displays, with production possibly beginning in the second half of 2024.

Meanwhile, Haitong International Securities analyst Jeff Pu has said the new Apple Watch Ultra will likely boast a larger 2.1-inch display. The current Ultra boasts a 1.9-inch display. Pu also noted that by using microLED technology, the new Ultra’s display could be much brighter than the OLED display used in current Apple Watch models.

While Apple is developing microLED displays, it is still in the process of completing what has turned out to be a rather lengthy transition from LCD to OLED display technology. The Cupertino firm began using OLED displays on its Apple Watch ever since the wearable’s 2015 launch and began gradually switching its iPhone lineup over to OLED starting in 2017. Many believe Apple will release its first OLED display-equipped iPad Pro and MacBook models sometime in 2024.