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The Apple Watch's microLED future gets even more dicey

Apple has canceled the microLED project with one of its supplier partners, leaving the fate of the project in limbo.

Published onFebruary 29, 2024

An Apple Watch Series 9 displays the Modular watch face.
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority
Series 9
  • Apple has canceled its microLED project with one of its suppliers, leaving the project in limbo.
  • Apple was expected to equip the 10th-anniversary edition of the Apple Watch, dubbed the Apple Watch X, with microLED as a key hardware upgrade, with a launch due in 2025.
  • Past reports have suggested that microLED Apple Watches could be as far away as 2027.

Apple has high ambitions for the Apple Watch, and they are warranted. The Apple Watch Series 9 is one of the best smartwatches you can buy, and that’s despite a heavy iPhone lock-in. It’s in Apple’s economic interests to maintain its experience lead with the Apple Watch, and the company was long rumored to make the jump to a microLED display as one of the possible ways it could do so. But it seems that microLED hardware upgrade may remain a wishlist item for some more time.

As display analyst Guillaume Chansin from DSCC notes, Apple has canceled its microLED project with one of its suppliers, AMS OSRAM. The microLED displays were intended for the Apple Watch and planned for the 10th-anniversary edition of the watch, nicknamed the Apple Watch X, which was scheduled for launch in 2025 (though one can argue that 2024 is the 10th year since the original Apple Watch was released in 2014).

However, progress on the microLED project is being described as slow, and Apple would seemingly have had to delay the launch date for the anniversary edition. Consequently, Apple reviewed its microLED strategy and canceled the project with its supplier.

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Guillaume Chansin on X

A recent report from The Elec carried forewarnings of such an eventuality. The report mentioned that a microLED Apple Watch is not coming until 2026; even 2027 remains unclear. Apple had not completed the component supply chain to make microLED displays for the Apple Watch as of earlier this month.

With the report of OSRAM’s exit from this project, the rest of the initiative appears to be in limbo. Even if Apple finds a replacement supplier, what is certain by now is that you will have to wait quite some time for a microLED Apple Watch, possibly till 2027 and beyond.

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