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microLED Apple Watch Ultra pushed to 2026, delaying the first microLED iPhone even further

Published Aug 10th, 2023 4:46PM EDT
Apple Watch Ultra on a cactus, displaying the exclusive Ultra watch face
Image: Jonathan S. Geller for BGR

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In its latest report, TrendForce predicts the Apple Watch Ultra will add a microLED display by 2026 instead of 2025, as was previously rumored. In addition to this technology, Apple plans to increase the size of the watch’s screen to up to 2.12 inches.

This report is interesting because Apple plans to roll out microLED technology to other products after it’s available for the Apple Watch. The publication says a mcroLED display could come to Apple’s headsets, smartphones, and automotive applications.

That said, it’s unclear when Apple would switch the OLED panel on the iPhone to microLED. Currently, the company is expected to add an OLED display to the iPad Pro in 2024. Samsung Display and LG Display are working on the 8th generation of this technology to bring it to the MacBook Pro by 2026.

While TrendForce says the market value of microLED chips will reach $27 million in 2023, it could rise to $580 million in 2027, although TVs might be responsible for most of this growth.

For Apple, the company might be ready to introduce a new generation of the Apple Vision Pro – or even its long-rumored AR glasses – by 2026, so this could help boost the growth of microLEDs. But it’s unclear when the iPhone might adopt this new display.

Previously, Apple attempted to bring microLED to the iPhone X, but the company scrapped these plans due to production difficulties and higher prices.

This TrendForce report corroborates what The Elec said a week ago. According to the story, Apple is starting its transition to microLED with the Apple Watch Ultra because it’s easier to apply this technology on small displays. Once the company masters that, it will be able to apply it to AR devices and eventually bring it to larger displays, such as the iPhone, iPad, and Mac.

While Samsung Display is also able to produce microLED panels, The Elec says the South Korean company isn’t interested in making these displays for Apple as it doesn’t offer much profit.

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.