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

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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."

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

Relentless Power

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Jul 12, 2016
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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.
 
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lightmyway

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Anyone know what % less power micro-LED consumes? Any chance this would lead to an always-on display?
 
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Relentless Power

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Anyone know what % less power micro-LED consumes? Any chance this would lead to an always-on display?

I'm not sure what percentage Micro LED consumes. However, Micro Led doesn't require a backlight, which will greatly reduce the power draw. But this could also be a gateway to allow for an always on display, being its more energy efficient.
 
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tkukoc

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Well that's interesting news. Wonder if that means they'll hold off the next apple watch till 2018 then? Make the announcement at WWDC 2k18 with release the following week? Should be cool to see where they go with the next one with this new screen.
 
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UL2RA

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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?
 
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lunarworks

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I'd forgotten Apple had bought Luxvue. I wasn't even aware they were working on their own display technology. Of course, that's typical Apple secrecy. If it were any other company they'd be at every trade show showing off their latest prototypes to the world. With Apple we won't see it until it's in an actual, available product.

I'm really curious about MicroLED. Supposedly it fixes every problem OLED has.
 
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GrumpyMom

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Always-on would be nice but they better start offering more watch faces to show it off. I envied my husband's very sophisticated AOD options on his Samsung Gear S3 Frontier watch so much that I actually contemplated getting one for myself, despite the fact it would look like I was wearing a dinner plate on my wrist. :p

And even on my own Gear S2, I have some limited AOD choices that are sweet though very basic compared to what a Gear S3 can display. Samsung sells as many watch faces as developers care to create and many of them are absolutely exquisite.

I'm a bit dismayed after all this time our Apple watch face choices are still so very limited and that AOD hasn't been feasible. I very much appreciate the comfort and size of my Apple Watch and appreciate that Apple didn't forget female customers in their design of it. I hope this new technology opens up a whole new world of watch face options for all of us.
 
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GrumpyMom

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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.
 
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UL2RA

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Relentless Power

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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.

On OLED displays, the color "black" is displayed by turning the pixels completely off. So you can't have richer blacks than off.

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.
 
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Nicksd84

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despite the fact it would look like I was wearing a dinner plate on my wrist. :p

I'm a bit dismayed after all this time our Apple watch face choices are still so very limited and that AOD hasn't been feasible. I very much appreciate the comfort and size of my Apple Watch and appreciate that Apple didn't forget female customers in their design of it. I hope this new technology opens up a whole new world of watch face options for all of us.

This whole post is walking contradictions. Apple make it thin and beautiful and always on display. NOW!
 
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Relentless Power

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This whole post is walking contradictions. Apple make it thin and beautiful and always on display. NOW!

I disagree. I own the 42 MM Stainless. For me, I actually appreciate the depth and thickness to it. I want the Apple to feel like a Watch and with the stainless model, it has a nice added weight to it. I owned the Sport model previously, and it was to light. (The stainless model actually weights 40% more Over the aluminum model).

As far as always on display, I understand there are situations when Raise to wake Isn't always perfect. But personally, I don't need the dispay illuminated when I'm not looking at the Watch. I either tap the screen or raise my wrist. (Which you have also have a 15/70 second option to keep the display activated.)
 
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Billberryjuice

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Well that's interesting news. Wonder if that means they'll hold off the next apple watch till 2018 then? Make the announcement at WWDC 2k18 with release the following week? Should be cool to see where they go with the next one with this new screen.
Series 1&2 were released ~6 months ago, which was ~18 months after Series 0 came out, so yep I would think it wise to expect Series 3 another year from now. Happy to be surprised though as I'm planning on replacing mine as soon the next refresh comes about.
 
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Oblivious.Robot

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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
 
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Relentless Power

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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.
 
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