Apple’s microLED WILL Go Ahead – first microLED to hit the market in months (from a different watch company)

apple watch ultra close up

Apple’s microLED WILL Go Ahead – first watch-sized microLED to hit the market in months (not from Apple tho)

Recent reports from the Apple-centric tech press suggest that Apple has canned its microLED project. This is complete nonsense and doesn’t stand up to scrutiny.


The fact widely reported this week is that one potential supplier, AMS Osram, has stated that “a major client” has cancelled its microLED project with them.

Apple has been working with AMS Osram and LG Display on microLED panels.

Other microLED panel manufacturers producing for wearables, like Taiwan’s AUO are already in production! Albeit on a small scale.

Apple Vision already has two micro-OLED screens…that just happen to be Watch-sized.


Apple will close its Santa Clara offices that host its acquisition, LuxVue Technology (acquired 2014). That company specializes in MicroLED but is unable to produce designs for microLED chips of a sufficiently low cost. This team may or may not work with AMS/LG.

MicroLED technology offers compelling advantages over the current generation of OLED tech, namely enhanced brightness, colour accuracy, longevity, and without historic OLED burn-in. Oh, and I almost forgot, with pixel-by-pixel power management the power saving will be significant, although not game-changing. I earlier guesstimated a 10% bump in the Apple Watch’s life if it adopted typical microLED screen tech.

I believe that microLED screen prices are stubbornly high at present. Along with capacity, those are key problems for adoption at scale.

microLED – When and how will we see it?

We will likely see a microLED smartwatch within 2 months. The first watch company will be a low-volume producer, almost certainly TAG Heuer. TAG will use AUO’s tech and can afford to do so because they have much bigger margins to play with than Apple and are willing and able to absorb the currently high panel cost. It’s possible one of the Chinese watch companies using Chinese screen tech could beat Tag to it. I don’t know the state of microLED fabrication in mainland China but there could be other players emerging from there.

The general way in which this tech will hit the market for companies like Apple will firstly be with a small format product ie the Apple Watch/Vision, probably the Apple Watch Ultra 3 (AWU3, 2025) will be next. Other Watches, iPhone and iPADs will follow suit soon after.

Even if AMS Osram was in negotiation with Apple and that was the partnership that was cancelled, Apple has at least one other supplier ie LG Display. Apple WILL continue with this technology and WILL eventually make a microLED-screened Watch. Other rumours are that the project has been delayed…fine. I’ll go with that in a worst-case scenario, I think something would have slipped out from LG if Apple were already ramping up for production starting now(ish) for a September launch, so a delay makes some sense.

The story is probably that Apple has formalised a microLED partnership deal with LG Display!

It’s reasonably likely that we will see a mainstream smartwatch with microLED this year. If not this year then certainly 2025. My guess is an outside chance that Samsung Galaxy Watch will be one of the first movers.

Garmin WILL also move forward with microLED. However not this year.

Wearables are a key application for Micro LED this year. AUO, pivoting from its traditional LCD operations, has successfully produced the world’s inaugural 1.39-inch Micro LED watch panel. In addition to initially providing it to European luxury watch manufacturer Tag Heuer, other major companies specializing in sports wearables and Japanese watch brands are all potential adopters of Micro LED wearable devices in the future. Source: Trendforce


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3 thoughts on “Apple’s microLED WILL Go Ahead – first microLED to hit the market in months (from a different watch company)

  1. From what I understand, Apple Vision uses micro-OLED tech, which is diffrent fron micro-LED. Micro-OLED is older tech that has been used in things like the electronic viewfinders in cameras.

  2. As Nathan noted, the claim that the AppleVisionPro has “two MicroLEDs” is factually wrong. The AppleVisionPro has two micro-OLEDs (the OLED deposition by Sony on a TSMC backplane, to be specific).

    Even the link you supply to Apple’s website states it has “micro-OLED.”

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