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Apple is reportedly planning to release a new Apple Watch Ultra with a microLED display in either 2024 or 2025, according to a report by Taiwanese supply chain publication DigiTimes. The report also claims that Apple is looking to extend this technology to other devices such as iPhones, iPads, and MacBooks in the future.
This latest report reiterates that Apple has been working on developing microLED technology ever since it acquired California-based company LuxVue in 2014. However, given that production of microLED displays remains challenging, the manufacturing costs for this technology are higher. This is why Apple has decided to introduce the technology first in the Apple Watch Ultra before incorporating it into larger devices.
The primary supplier of microLED chips for Apple will be European company ams OSRAM, according to the report. However, there is also potential for Taiwanese suppliers such as Epistar to become additional suppliers of microLED chips by 2026-2027.
Several sources, including Display Supply Chain Consultants CEO Ross Young, Mark Gurman, and Haitong International Securities analyst Jeff Pu, have previously hinted at the release of a new Apple Watch Ultra with a microLED display.
Gurman suggested that the microLED transition could begin by the end of 2024, but noted that the timeframe could slip into 2025. Similarly, Young also gave a 2025 timeframe, indicating that the technology may still be at least two years away.
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According to Pu, the new Apple Watch Ultra will likely feature a larger 2.1-inch display, and the microLED technology would allow for increased brightness compared to existing Apple Watch models with OLED displays. The current Ultra model features around a 1.9-inch display.
However, while Apple is working on introducing microLED technology into its devices, the company is still completing its transition from LCD to OLED display technology. The Apple Watch has used OLED since its launch in 2015, and iPhone models have gradually switched to OLED starting in 2017. Rumors suggest that the first iPad Pro and MacBook models with OLED displays will be released in 2024.