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Apple might’ve just delayed its hotly anticipated Apple Watch Ultra with microLED

Published Feb 29th, 2024 12:56PM EST
Apple Watch Ultra 2 with blood oxygen feature / Apple Watch ban
Image: José Adorno for BGR

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Rumors about the microLED Apple Watch Ultra have surfaced on the web for almost a year now. While it was first expected to launch in 2025, it was then postponed to 2026 and now 2027.

Now, a new report might suggest Apple ultimately scrapped its plans for this upgrade – or at least isn’t expected to launch it in the foreseen future. As spotted and suggested by AppleInsider, panel maker Osram announced an unnamed customer canceled all orders for microLED displays, which the publication believes might have been Apple.

Previously, Osram expected increased revenue in 2025 – when Apple was first expected to release its microLED Apple Watch Ultra. “The shock is still deep,” CEO Aldo Kamper said on a conference call.” “We thought everything was on track,” added CFO Rainer Irle.

That said, if Apple was the unnamed contractor, this might mean the company is focusing on other technologies or it’s not sure it’s time to change to a microLED panel.

What we know about the microLED Apple Watch Ultra

Apple Watch Ultra on a cactus, displaying the exclusive Ultra watch faceImage source: Jonathan S. Geller for BGR

For over a year, we have heard that a microLED Apple Watch Ultra is slated to release in 2026. A few weeks ago, a supply chain report by the Korean version of The Elec said this model could be delayed until 2027 or later.

The publication said the biggest obstacle to mass production of the microLED Apple Watch was its manufacturing cost, including production yield.

If Apple were to produce this display now, a 2-inch screen could cost Cupertino around $150, while the existing OLED display costs $38. The publication said that Apple’s consumer selling price of a product with a panel price of $150 is ” known to be around $1,500.” Since Apple promotes the Watch Ultra for $799, the Watch could practically double the price if the company wanted to release it sooner rather than later.

Although this particular upgrade might be holding users from upgrading to the Apple Watch Ultra 2 or even the possible 2024 model, it’s possible that this 2027 timeframe could offer way more benefits than just a display change.

While it’s rumored that Apple is planning sleep apnea detection for the 2024 Apple Watch, it’s also planning to roll out blood pressure sensors in phases. While the first iteration will just tell a user if their blood pressure is trending upward, a 2027 version could have the ability to provide exact numbers and even diagnose related conditions.

In addition, Apple is putting all its efforts into a blood glucose sensor for a future Apple Watch. While it’s unclear if the company will be able to pull a non-invasive system, it’s easier to predict this technology could be presented in 2027 rather than 2024.

José Adorno Tech News Reporter

José is a Tech News Reporter at BGR. He has previously covered Apple and iPhone news for 9to5Mac, and was a producer and web editor for Latin America broadcaster TV Globo. He is based out of Brazil.