If you were waiting for the Apple Watch Ultra with a microLED display onboard, you might have to wait a tad bit more. The current timeline of 2026 appears to be not feasible for the Cupertino-based giant to roll out an Apple Watch Ultra with a microLED display and it has been pushed to 2027 as per multiple industry insiders.
Last year, Bloomberg reported Apple will launch the Apple Watch Ultra with its first-ever microLED display by late 2024. Soon, the display tech will trickle to other models i.e. standard, Pro, and SE. It was initially pushed to 2025 albeit unofficially. However, reports from market research giant Trend Force revised the date yet again to 2026, and now, we are hearing about another pushback to 2027 which is when Apple will be able to sell the Apple Watch Ultra with microLED display at a premium pricing while maintaining a decent margin.
Ultra’s microLED panels are suffering from higher costs & lower yield
Per the report by The Elec, Apple is facing issues with the current cost of microLED panels. It is estimated to be around $150 for a 2-inch microLED panel whereas the current gen 2-inch OLED panel costs around $38 to make.
Last year, Omdia (a major market research firm) pointed out that a 2.13” microLED LTPO panel with 325ppi density costs Apple around $115. However, the current estimates take it to $150 which is exorbitantly higher than what Omdia has estimated. In fact, as per Apple’s product pricing policy, it will have to price the Apple Watch Ultra (microLED edition) at a whopping $1,500 if the pricing of the display is capped at $150 which is impractical.
Another issue that Apple is facing is a lower yield rate as LG is currently working on perfecting the tech. In August last year, LG Display was reportedly to acquire 14 patents that would deal with a fix to increase yield by minimizing defects during the manufacturing process. It remains to be seen just when LG Display announces the same.
With that being said, it is safe to conclude that we can’t expect an Apple Watch Ultra with microLED at least before 2027. It gives Apple enough time to figure out the supply chain, and the manufacturing, among others to bring down the pricing considerably to fit the user’s pocket once it arrives three years later. It remains to be seen if we get an intermittent Apple Watch Ultra 3 during this period or not.