Apple reportedly cancels microLED Apple Watch Ultra

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Rumors have been circulating for years that Apple would introduce a micro-LED display to its top-of-the-line Apple Watch Ultra. However, new developments have thrown the future of the expected upgrade into doubt.

One of Apple’s presumed display suppliers, Osram, announced that it had unexpectedly canceled “a large micro-LED project from an unnamed customer”. While the company was not named, it is believed to be Apple based on previous reports.

Kuo explains why Apple is ditching the microLED Apple Watch Ultra

Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has shed more light on Apple’s decision to cancel plans for a microLED Apple Watch. According to a tweet, he has surveyed Apple’s supply chain and confirmed that the company has canceled the project for the foreseeable future.

Kuo cited high production costs as the main reason for Apple pulling the plug. He stated that microLED technology cannot add significant value to the Apple Watch product at this stage. Mass production costs are also still too high to make a microLED Watch economically viable.

Kuo also noted that many employees involved in microLED development efforts have lost their jobs following the project’s termination. This suggests that Apple is shutting down much of its internal work on bringing microLEDs to its wearables.

If accurate, this would be a setback in Apple’s long-term transition to micro-LEDs for its wearables. The higher brightness, contrast, and battery efficiency of micro-LED was seen as ideal for Watch Ultra.

Some reports still leave open the possibility that Apple could release a micro-LED Apple Watch in the future, once the technology and manufacturing have matured. Others, however, believe that Apple may have decided to stick with OLED for its Watch lineup for now due to current micro-LED limitations or higher costs.

While microLED may not be coming to the Apple Watch anytime soon, analysts say Apple likely still sees the display technology as important in the long term. Nevertheless, it remains unclear what exactly prompted Apple to halt the project after what was likely extensive R&D.