Apple Watch on Track to Include Advanced Micro-LED Display 'As Soon As 2018'

Apple's micro-LED plans are making headlines again today, with Nikkei quoting industry sources that believe the Cupertino company is still on track for a wide adoption of micro-LED screens in its wearable devices "as soon as 2018." That timeline fits into a previous report from May, which pegged Apple for a trial production of micro-LED displays by the end of 2017, and a predicted inclusion on an Apple Watch launched in 2018 or later.

If true, analysts speculate as to whether this means Apple would then cut dependence on Samsung and its production of OLED screens currently used on Apple Watch. Separately, another rumor has suggested that Samsung is looking into purchasing micro-LED manufacturer PlayNitride, which could then lead into a scenario where Apple sources micro-LED screens from Samsung for Apple Watch. Falling in line with previous reports, Nikkei's sources state that Apple's micro-LED efforts will be housed in a plant in Taoyuan, Taiwan.


According to a person with knowledge of the display industry, Apple remains "the only company" that could potentially roll out micro-LED on a wide scale at this early stage in the technology's development. Devices with micro-LED have the chance to be thinner, lighter, see an improved color gamut with increased brightness, and sport higher resolutions. Micro-LED isn't expected to become a leader in the smartphone display supply chain, including that of iPhone, until 2020 at the earliest.
"Apple is working very hard to foster the micro-LED technology ... the company could push the use of new display tech as early as next year," said an executive with close knowledge of display technology.

"At this point, Apple is the only company who is able to roll out micro-LED, a technology that is still at an early stage of development, and cover the high costs incurred by the low yield rate," the person said.
According to Eric Chiou, an analyst at research company WitsView in Taipei, "With micro-LED, Apple is looking to bestow brand-new products with unique designs to really differentiate itself from rivals such as Samsung." Of course, being so far out from a product launch with a micro-LED screen, it's impossible to know exactly what Apple plans to do with the technology, whether it's placed within a next-generation Apple Watch or a separate, unannounced device.

Apple's production ramp-up on micro-LED is said to be the final realization of its acquisition of low-power microLED-based display maker LuxVue in 2014, with rumors specifically surrounding a new micro-LED-powered Apple Watch beginning in summer 2016. Foxconn is also entering the micro-LED supply chain, with plans to acquire display startup eLux, "for development of next-generation micro-LED display technology."

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Top Rated Comments

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10 months ago
On the watch, a big drop in power consumption could lead in any of three ways:

- Longer life
- Smaller battery/ thinner device
- Always-on screen

I wonder which we'll get.
Rating: 6 Votes
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10 months ago

Micro-LED would be a huge Benefit for the Apple Watch. It would have almost three times the brightness as OLED (Consumes less power draw, resulting in more battery life), higher contrast in color with richer blacks and more clarity.

I imagine the Apple Watch would be the first to get micro LED and then it would transition to the iPhone eventually.

I was under the impression that "black" on OLEDs is literally "off" ... so ... how do you get richer than off?
Rating: 5 Votes
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10 months ago
Micro-LED would be a huge Benefit for the Apple Watch. It would have almost three times the brightness as OLED (Consumes less power draw, resulting in more battery life), higher contrast in color with richer blacks and more clarity.

I imagine the Apple Watch would be the first to get micro LED and then it would transition to the iPhone eventually.
Rating: 4 Votes
Avatar
10 months ago

Off? Can you elaborate? Blacks are much deeper with OLED and Micro led will Continue that balance. Richer meaning deeper in saturation.

http://www.flatpanelshd.com/focus.php?subaction=showfull&id=1477048275

On OLED displays, the color "black" is displayed by turning the pixels completely off. So you can't have richer blacks than off.
Rating: 4 Votes
Avatar
10 months ago

On the watch, a big drop in power consumption could lead in any of three ways:

- Longer life
- Smaller battery/ thinner device
- Always-on screen

I wonder which we'll get.

Thinner device of course. On which planet you have been the last decade?
Rating: 3 Votes
Avatar
10 months ago

Off? Can you elaborate? Blacks are much deeper with OLED and Micro led will Continue that balance. Richer meaning deeper in saturated.

http://www.flatpanelshd.com/focus.php?subaction=showfull&id=1477048275

I think he means that in OLED, to get the black color the pixel is simply turned off. So how can black get any darker/richer than it currently is as a totally turned off pixel? At least that's what I was wondering too when I read your post, which I might be failing to fully understand. I'll go read your link now.
Rating: 3 Votes
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10 months ago

I see what you're saying. And you're correct. Perhaps richer wasn't the most suitable term to use. It also helps as well that Micro Led eliminates back lightning, which also assists. The Big benefit with micro LED over OLED is pixels won't fade as quickly and significant less power draw.


OLEDs already don't have backlighting...Each pixel produces its own light. That's exactly how you get 0 lumens when you display a black pixel - the pixel is off. It produces no light.
Rating: 2 Votes
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10 months ago

An always on screen, and a round Apple Watch is at the top of my wish list. Hopefully one day apple just might deliver that, and I'd buy it a heartbeat.

Also I'd give away the first gen to my nagging sister, saying that it's a gift :p


In addition, I would like to see Apple implement some type of Apple Watch face store, where you have options to purchase additional watch faces or at least have a larger array of watch faces.
Rating: 2 Votes
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10 months ago

And I mean no offense to anybody that appreciates Toy story or animated cartoon watch faces, but they seem juvenile and sophomoric to me. I like a lot of the first watch faces that launched in 2015, and that's what I would like to see more of a style or extension of. Perhaps more of a Hermes style Watch face or sophisticated look.

Just let me choose from more complications on my photo Watch face and I'd be happy. As excited as I am to have buzz on my wrist, I can't imagine it being my go to face.

Haha I'm not a teen girl or a tween(whatever that is).
Rating: 2 Votes
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10 months ago

Always-on would be nice but they better start offering more watch faces to show it off.

Or downloadable watch faces.
Rating: 2 Votes
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