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Apple’s highly anticipated update to the Apple Watch Ultra, featuring a cutting-edge microLED display, has hit another roadblock and is facing further delays, according to a report by market research firm Trendforce, as reported by The Elec. This setback comes after earlier reports from display analyst Ross Young indicated that the Apple Watch Ultra with a microLED display would not see the light of day until at least the second half of 2025, contradicting the initial rumors of a late 2024 release.
Trendforce now suggests that the launch of the Apple Watch Ultra with a microLED display has been postponed for a second time and is unlikely to grace our wrists before the first quarter of 2026. The primary cause of this delay appears to be related to the considerable manufacturing costs that Apple needs to address before embarking on mass production.
In its quest for independence from external suppliers, Apple has reportedly invested more than $1 billion in in-house microLED development over the past decade. This substantial investment is aimed at reducing the company’s reliance on Samsung Display and gaining greater control over the supply of crucial components in the display panel sector.
If and when it finally arrives, the Apple Watch Ultra is expected to be the first Apple device to feature a microLED display. Currently, the Apple Watch Ultra relies on standard OLED technology. However, microLED offers numerous advantages over OLED, along with some notable improvements.
Compared to LED displays, microLED is significantly more energy-efficient, potentially leading to a significant increase in battery life for the Apple Watch Ultra and future devices adopting this technology. Furthermore, unlike OLED, microLED displays carry a much lower risk of screen burn-in and boast a longer potential lifetime.
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MicroLED displays also provide enhanced contrast and faster response times, thanks to individual pixel-level lighting. Additionally, the color reproduction is more accurate and vibrant. In essence, microLED represents a next-generation technology that surpasses OLED and miniLED in several key aspects.
Apple has already begun testing microLED displays for the Apple Watch, which are said to exhibit brighter, more vivid colors, and create a visual experience akin to content being “painted on top of the glass.” The company plans to extend this groundbreaking technology to the iPhone and other devices in the future.