Apple Supplier LG Invests in MicroLED Patents for Apple Watch Ultra Displays

Apple supplier LG has reportedly purchased multiple patents that could help it produce the displays for Apple's rumored next-generation Apple Watch Ultra model with a microLED display.

apple watch ultra 1 1
The Elec reports that the patents purchased from a Taiwanese company have to do with the "transfer printing process" in microLED, as well as microLED technologies related to stacking, touch control sensing, AR, VR, and HUD.

The transfer printing process is said to be one of the most challenging aspects of the technology because the process involves planting chips that are a few micrometers (μm) to several dozen nanometers in size into their correct positions.

The small size of the chips makes execution difficult, while the low yield of the transcription process requires a repair process to replace defective microLEDs, all of which leads to higher costs.

Despite this, LG's purchase of the microLED patents is said to be a reflection of its willingness to improve the profitability of microLED production. LG is already constructing a small production line to supply Apple with microLED displays destined for an Apple Watch model. Opening in the second half of 2024, the facility will reportedly supply microLED backplanes and assemble Apple's displays.

Information shared in April by display analyst Ross Young suggested that an Apple Watch Ultra with microLED display would launch in the second half of 2025 at the earliest, rather than late 2024 as was originally rumored.

However, a July report by TrendForce claims it has been postponed for a second time and is unlikely to emerge before the first quarter of 2026, due to problems relating to high manufacturing costs which need to be solved before Apple can proceed to mass production.

The current ‌Apple Watch Ultra‌ uses standard OLED technology, whereas microLED offers many of the benefits of OLED along with some improvements.

Compared to LED displays, microLED is much more energy efficient and it would likely notably increase battery life on the ‌Apple Watch Ultra‌ and other devices that adopt the technology in the future. Unlike OLED, there's much less risk of screen burn-in, and microLEDs have a longer potential lifetime.

MicroLED displays also provide contrast improvements and faster response times because of the pixel-level individual lights, plus the color is better and brighter. In a nutshell, it's a next-generation technology superior to OLED and miniLED.

The ‌Apple Watch Ultra‌ is expected to be the first Apple device to adopt a microLED display, due to the small screen and pixel density of smartwatches. Apple is said to be planning to adopt the technology in smartphones, AR devices, and other devices in the future.

Related Roundup: Apple Watch Ultra 2
Related Forum: Apple Watch

Top Rated Comments

Leon Ze Professional Avatar
9 months ago
"Compared to LED displays, microLED is much more energy efficient and it would likely notably increase battery life on the ‌Apple Watch Ultra‌"

"Unlike OLED, there's much less risk of screen burn-in, and microLEDs have a longer potential lifetime."

"MicroLED displays also provide contrast improvements and faster response times because of the pixel-level individual lights, plus the color is better and brighter."

The three points above highlight why MicroLED is the holy grail of screen technology. Make it happen, Apple!
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
TheYayAreaLiving ?️ Avatar
9 months ago
Looks like MicroLED is the future in the Apple Products line up.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
darngooddesign Avatar
9 months ago

If I bought an OG Ultra I'd be pissed rn
The article says that it may not be out till 2026 or later due to production cost issues, so people who already bought an Ultra get to enjoy it for three or four years before it has a MicroLED screen.

So why would they be mad?
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
5105973 Avatar
9 months ago
I can’t wait! My ankle is ready!

(Since it’s too danged big for my wrist)
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Strigoi Avatar
9 months ago

If I bought an OG Ultra I'd be pissed rn
Yeah, I’m still so pissed that I bought a CRT monitor back in the days. When they knew LED and eventually microLED would be a thing ;)

Anyhow. My thanks to all the early adapters for making the next version possible! I can’t wait for microLED to become the default screen tech.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
StyxMaker Avatar
9 months ago
If you want an Ultra I would not hold off. 2026 arrives and it could be delayed another few years.
I’m 73, my entire life the ‘experts’ have been saying commercial fusion power was only twenty years away. Some things never come when they re expected. I never worry about the great technology that’s ’right around the corner’ when it’s time to buy a product.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

Provenance Emulator

PlayStation, GameCube, Wii, and SEGA Emulator for iPhone and Apple TV Coming to App Store

Friday April 19, 2024 8:29 am PDT by
The lead developer of the multi-emulator app Provenance has told iMore that his team is working towards releasing the app on the App Store, but he did not provide a timeframe. Provenance is a frontend for many existing emulators, and it would allow iPhone and Apple TV users to emulate games released for a wide variety of classic game consoles, including the original PlayStation, GameCube, Wii,...
Delta Feature

Delta Game Emulator Now Available From App Store on iPhone

Wednesday April 17, 2024 9:58 am PDT by
Game emulator apps have come and gone since Apple announced App Store support for them on April 5, but now popular game emulator Delta from developer Riley Testut is available for download. Testut is known as the developer behind GBA4iOS, an open-source emulator that was available for a brief time more than a decade ago. GBA4iOS led to Delta, an emulator that has been available outside of...
iPad Air 12

12.9-Inch iPad Air Now Rumored to Feature Mini-LED Display

Thursday April 18, 2024 7:37 am PDT by
The rumored 12.9-inch iPad Air that is expected to be announced in May will be equipped with a mini-LED display like the current 12.9-inch iPad Pro, according to Ross Young, CEO of research firm Display Supply Chain Consultants. The existing 10.9-inch iPad Air is equipped with a standard LCD panel, and the move to mini-LED technology for the 12.9-inch model would provide increased brightness for...
iPhone 15 Pro Action Button Translate

All iPhone 16 Models to Feature Action Button, But Usefulness Debated

Tuesday April 16, 2024 6:54 am PDT by
Last September, Apple's iPhone 15 Pro models debuted with a new customizable Action button, offering faster access to a handful of functions, as well as the ability to assign Shortcuts. Apple is poised to include the feature on all upcoming iPhone 16 models, so we asked iPhone 15 Pro users what their experience has been with the additional button so far. The Action button replaces the switch ...