microLED Apple Watch: Apple derails from developing display technology

Gurman claims that microLED displays were deep into production and had caused a toll of billions on Apple
An undated image displaying an Apple Watch. — Pexels
An undated image displaying an Apple Watch. — Pexels

A long touted Apple project to develop microLED displays within its native production capacity has come to its end as the company recedes with its plans.

The development surfaced from Mark Gurman, a prolific reporter who extensively covers Apple products and much more surrounding it. The report of the initialisation of this project also came from the similar source.

The Bloomberg correspondent, Gurman, claimed that the microLED displays were deep into production and had caused a toll of billions in investment when the Cupertino-based tech firm ceased this project. According to Gurman, the display technology was slated to be first featured on Apple Watch Ultra.

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The discontinuation of microLED is reportedly being attributed to more-than-estimated cost incurring on the technology, which has also led Apple to shift the project's designated workforce to other projects as well as subject a few to layoffs. Employees being laid off will be provided severance pay, while others will be entrusted with different roles within the company.

The development of microLED display for Apple Watches was initially brought to light in February this year, when supplier ams OSRAM said that a "cornerstone project" associated with microLED was cancelled.

Corroborrating on the cancellation of the project last month, both industry analysts Ming-Chi Kuo and Display Supply Chain Consultants confirmed that the iPhone maker has put an end to the development of microLED Apple Watch.

On the contrary, Gurman last month posted on X, formerly Twitter, that the technology was still in the works. ams OSRAM was "one supplier" on the project alongside several other suppliers Apple was collaborating with, Gurman wrote in his post. "I doubt it was canceled," the post added.

MicroLED technology utilises tiny LEDs for individual pixels, offering greater energy efficiency compared to traditional LED, improved contrast, and quicker response times. It delivers brighter and better colors without the risk of burn-in seen with OLED. Reports suggest that Apple has discontinued its MicroLED project due to lack of economic viability.

Gurman suggests that Apple will continue using OLED display technology for the Apple Watch "for now," but is "eyeing microLED for other projects down the road," while identifying "potential new suppliers and processes for microLED, but it "won't likely happen anytime soon."