The micro-LED Apple Watch Ultra is variously expected to release in 2024, 2025 and 2026, but a new report today suggests that this could happen by 2027 or even later.
The problem is said to be Apple's hesitation over the high cost of the micro-LED screen, which suppliers have so far failed to do. to reduce to a more acceptable level …
Slow road to micro-LED
After regular-backlit LCDs, mini-LED-backlit LCDs and OLED, the next generation of display technology to be adopted by Apple is expected to be micro-LED.
Compared to OLED, micro-LED will provide improved brightness, color accuracy, longevity and energy efficiency. In particular, it doesn't have the same burn-in problem as OLED.
Apple Time Watch Ultra with micro-LEDs
At one point, Nikkei suggested that Apple could make this switch in 2018!
Fast forward a year or so, and notable sources were suggesting that the first Apple Watch Ultra to be upgraded from OLED to micro-LED, there will be a 2024 model. Both analyst Jeff Pu and Bloomberg expected the transition to occur at the end of 2024.
A few months later, however, display analyst Ross Young suggested that the transition to the latest technology would be pushed back to “at the earliest 2025.”
By last summer Trendforce said the low rate of product release in test production meant the launch would be delayed until 2026.
The same source repeated this just a couple of months ago, indicating that high production costs will lead to significant price increases.
The Elec now points to 2027 or later
Today, the Elec paints an even more pessimistic picture, suggesting that Apple will struggle to meet its 2026 target date, and that the Apple Watch Ultra with microLEDs they may not do this. launch before 2027 or even later.
It is expected that in 2026 it will be difficult to create an Apple Watch with micro-LEDs. Apple is working on a micro-LED project, but it hasn't even been able to finalize the micro-LED component supply chain configuration. for Apple Watch. At the moment, the issue of release in 2027 is also unknown.
It's estimated that Apple is currently paying around $40 for an Ultra display. An earlier report suggested that this amount would likely increase to $115-$120, but The Elec reports that it is now more like $150. Given the company's usual markup and the premium for new display technology, this could push the retail price to a level where it would be difficult to sell.
It's a familiar story in tech. New generations of technologies are more difficult to produce than existing ones, so early production testing results in low yield rates (the percentage of units manufactured that pass quality control). This either makes mass production impractical or increases costs significantly.
But some technology developments are particularly slow, and microLEDs definitely fall into this category: Apple has been working on this technology for more than a decade. The company accelerated this effort by acquiring microLED specialist LuxVue in 2014, and reported problems in 2017.
Given this long and complex history, it is not surprising that no one really knows when will reach his goal. the practicality of introducing a mainstream product – even one as relatively niche as the Apple Watch Ultra.
Ultimately, Apple will have to make a decision about how much the market will bear, and from there calculate when the launch will become financially viable.
Photo by Samuel Angor on Unsplash