Report: Apple Watch could adopt microLED display tech as early as 2018

Apple’s plans for microLED have been reported on before, with some claiming the company is currently in the stages of trial production. Now, a report from Nikkei claims that Apple currently plans to adopt microLED in its wearable products, perhaps as soon as 2018.

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The report explains that Apple hopes to be ahead of the curve when it comes to microLED production. Currently, the company relies heavily on Samsung for the upcoming iPhone 8 with OLED displays, but that’s a practice it hopes to avoid with future display technology.

According to the report, Apple is the only company currently able to rollout microLED technology, though it still comes with a very low yield rate and high-cost process.

As expected, it’s still “unlikely” for microLED to appear in smartphones any time soon due to the manufacturing difficulties. For wearables, however, Apple could potentially offer the new display technology as early as next year.

“Apple is working very hard to foster the micro-LED technology … the company could push the use of new display tech as early as next year,” said an executive with close knowledge of display technology.

“At this point, Apple is the only company who is able to roll out micro-LED, a technology that is still at an early stage of development, and cover the high costs incurred by the low yield rate,” the person said.

It was reported almost exactly a year ago that the Apple Watch would switch to microLED with the 2017 iteration, though that no longer appears to be the case. Currently, the Apple Watch uses OLED screen technology. Apple quietly acquired LuxVue Technology in 2014 which specialized in Micro LED development.

For those unfamiliar, microLED is essentially a microscopic version of conventional LEDs, an array of which makes up each pixel. The technology is said to be both brighter and more power-efficient than OLED, which Apple will adopt with the iPhone 8 later this year.

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