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Earlier this week, Apple supplier ams OSRAM announced it would "re-assess its microLED strategy" after a "cornerstone project" was "unexpectedly cancelled." Counterpoint Research's Display Supply Chain Consultants informed MacRumors that this project related to the rumored Apple Watch with a microLED display.

Apple-Watch-Ultra-2-hero-feature-white.jpg

Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo today commented on the matter, saying that Apple has indeed canceled the project for the "foreseeable future." The analyst said that microLED production costs are currently "too high" for the project to be "economically viable."

"My latest survey indicates that Apple has canceled the Micro LED Apple Watch projects because Apple thinks that Micro LED can't add significant value to this product, and the production costs are too high to make it economically viable," said Kuo.

ams OSRAM was Apple's exclusive LED chip supplier for the project at the time it was canceled, according to Kuo. Apple has "no plans" to mass-produce microLED devices for the "foreseeable future," the analyst said.

Kuo described the cancellation as a "major setback" for Apple, and he said many employees involved with microLED development have been laid off.

While the project may be shelved for now, Apple likely still hopes to eventually transition to microLED technology in the future. Taiwanese research firm TrendForce today said that while ams OSRAM was Apple's "sole chip supplier" for the Apple Watch Ultra project, Taiwan and South Korea have a "robust lineup of manufacturers for Micro LED chips, backplanes, and related transfer processes," so there are other suppliers that Apple could partner with in the future. In any case, it appears that Apple's first microLED device is several years away.

Article Link: Kuo: Apple Watch Ultra With MicroLED Display Indeed Canceled
 
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epox999

macrumors member
Mar 8, 2011
89
257
Can they pour some R&D into smaller, higher capacity batteries? Everyone I know with one of these watches laments how often it needs to be charged vs something like a Fitbit Charge 5 which lasts 7-10 days between charges
 
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Populus

macrumors 603
Aug 24, 2012
5,180
7,524
Spain, Europe
If Apple does indeed cancel all MicroLED development, I’m afraid we’ll be stuck with OLED displays for many, many years.

I feel you, people sensitive to PMW. I’ll try to make my LCD devices to last as long as possible. I hope Apple maintains A15/M2 devices supported as long as possible, for at least 5 or 6 more years.
 

xxray

macrumors 68040
Jul 27, 2013
3,089
9,350
OLED is already doing a lot of the things that made microLED appealing. Getting brighter, getting more efficient, and reducing the risk of burn-in. I really don’t know what microLED can do to make that big of a difference. And if it’s still really expensive, it makes sense it’d be cancelled.
 

nikaru

macrumors 65816
Apr 23, 2009
1,133
1,434
Everything that saves space and reduce power consumption is extremely valuable for small wearable device. Wasn't microLED supposed to bring these two big advantages to the table? Now it is too expensive?
 

nikaru

macrumors 65816
Apr 23, 2009
1,133
1,434
OLED is already doing a lot of the things that made microLED appealing. Getting brighter, getting more efficient, and reducing the risk of burn-in. I really don’t know what microLED can do to make that big of a difference. And if it’s still really expensive, it makes sense it’d be cancelled.
While there is still margin to improve OLED technology, it has its limitations. If Apple does not push into exploring new technologies and solutions, that is, to innovate, someone else will. Letting Samsung or any other competitor having better display in terms of power consumption, thickness and quality will be a big blow for Apple.
 

StuBeck

macrumors 6502a
May 6, 2008
838
1,339
I am from Austria and this is a giant blow to Ams-Osram. They built an € 800 million plant in Malaysia only for Apple to cancel this order. Not good. Didn't they properly plan this in advance?
Its been part of their plan for at least 5 years. Essentially every upcoming Apple watch is going to be the one that finally switches to MicroLED...for reasons.

I suspect that plant will still be able to do other MicroLED things in areas that make sense.
 

Nekronos

macrumors regular
Jan 6, 2024
113
163
Can they pour some R&D into smaller, higher capacity batteries? Everyone I know with one of these watches laments how often it needs to be charged vs something like a Fitbit Charge 5 which lasts 7-10 days between charges
that has less to do with battery and more to do with raw power consumption - apple watch screen is more vivid and bright and is a more complex device with higher power draw.

Other wearables like Fitbit and Garmin are simpler and more focused on being a watch/fitness tracker than a secondary phone like the apple watch.
 

cateye

macrumors 6502a
Oct 18, 2011
670
2,606
Everything that saves space and reduce power consumption is extremely valuable for small wearable device. Wasn't microLED supposed to bring these two big advantages to the table? Now it is too expensive?
MicroLED did so in theory. Turning that into a viable product at the price Apple (or anyone) is willing to pay is the real magic trick. I would suggest a cancellation like this on a high margin product like the Ultra means the cost delta compared to OLED was not reasonable in the short or long term. Stick a fork in it.
 
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