Apple Drops Plans to Develop MicroLED Displays for Apple Watch

Apple has ended a project to develop microLED displays in-house, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman in a reversal of his prior reporting on the development of the technology. Apple invested billions in developing microLED displays, with plans to first add microLED to the Apple Watch Ultra.

apple watch ultra 2 purple
MicroLED was too expensive and too complex for Apple to design, so Apple is now reorganizing its display engineering teams and laying off employees in the U.S. and Asia. Some of the displaced employees may be able to find other roles in the company, and others will be provided with severance.

Rumors that Apple had canceled plans for an Apple Watch with microLED first surfaced in February when supplier ams OSRAM said that a "cornerstone project" related to microLED had been canceled. Soon after, there were rumors that Apple had ended its relationship with Kulicke & Soffa, another company in the advanced display market.

Both analyst Ming-Chi Kuo and Display Supply Chain Consultants confirmed that Apple had canceled work on a microLED Apple Watch after these rumors, but Gurman claimed that Apple was still working on the device. In a now-deleted tweet, Gurman said that ams OSRAM was "one supplier" on the project, and that there were several other suppliers Apple was working with. "I doubt it was canceled," he wrote.

DigiTimes and ETNews also suggested that ams OSRAM was replaced due to a performance drop and that Apple had another supplier lined up, but it appears that information was incorrect.

MicroLED technology uses microscopic LEDs for individual pixels. It's more energy efficient than traditional LED, offers improved contrast, and has faster response times. Colors are brighter and better, and there's no risk of burn-in as there is with OLED. Apple is said to have abandoned the project because it was not economically viable.

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

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

Top Rated Comments

erikkfi Avatar
5 weeks ago
Can't build AirPower, can't build a car, can't build MicroLED. What is going on with this company?
Score: 46 Votes (Like | Disagree)
d5aqoëp Avatar
5 weeks ago
What’s up with Apple lately?
Apple ends Apple Car R&D, Apple ends 5G Modem R&D and now this? Not cutting edge anymore?
Score: 41 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Anaxarxes Avatar
5 weeks ago
People thinking this is some sort of bad news should know one thing or two when it comes to how to run a company.


* You start with a business case. You include reasons, why it's important (What/So what/Now what), forecast a profit and loss analysis. You state what resources are needed and how much time it'll take to keep the project up and running, as well as how much the return of investment will be.
* In technologies like displays, modems etc, there are ample amount of players in the game that do these as their core business. Apple is developing these solutions so they can invest now and reap the benefits later where every component would be returning better margins (profit) for every product sold. (Apple's average margin is around 70% which is unheard of in tech industry)
* Apple is reassessing its developments and deciding to kill some, because they now KNOW (not believe) that continued efforts will either not come to fruition or would be much more expensive than they thought.
* So all these cancellations are just refocusing company resources where it would benefit most to the company. Apple may think of redeveloping MicroLED displays in the future when the science is better positioned for commercialisation.

Cook can be interpreted as uninfluential. But he's a master of operations and he knows a thing or two when running the company (commercially)
Score: 32 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Fuzzball84 Avatar
5 weeks ago
MicroLED is just so much more robust than OLED. Manufacturing it is the problem. But in time it will be everywhere.
Score: 26 Votes (Like | Disagree)
sw1tcher Avatar
5 weeks ago

Apple has ended a project to develop microLED displays in-house, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman in a reversal of his prior reporting on the development of the technology. Apple invested billions in developing microLED displays, with plans to first add microLED to the Apple Watch Ultra.

MicroLED was too expensive and too complex for Apple to design, so Apple is now reorganizing its display engineering teams and laying off employees in the U.S. and Asia. Some of the displaced employees may be able to find other roles in the company, and others will be provided with severance.
Billions spent on Apple Car with nothing to show for it. Billions spent on microLED with nothing to show for it.

Eek.
Score: 24 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Spidder Avatar
5 weeks ago

What’s up with Apple lately?
Apple ends Apple Car R&D, Apple ends 5G Modem R&D and now this? Not cutting edge anymore?
Thats just how R&D works.

In most of the cases you fail and if you do, you reallocate those resources to other projects or you cut them partially or even entirely. Happens all the time.
Score: 23 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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