Apple’s microLED Transition Could Be Delayed Due to Supply Chain and Production Issues

The Apple Watch’s display has gotten better every year since its launch in 2015, and the new Apple Watch Ultra has taken the device even further with a larger screen. Apple planned to upgrade the Watch with a microLED display, but recent reports suggest that its supply chain might not be ready to support that move for a 2026 launch date.

MacRumors reported that research firm TrendForce had been predicting a 2026 launch date for the upgraded screen technology, which is further out than the 2025 dates some have pointed to. The issue is with manufacturing costs and yields, both of which are often problems with novel designs and the tight tolerances Apple demands.

The cost might be the most significant issue right now. The new screens reportedly cost as much as $150 to produce, almost four times the cost of today’s OLED displays. Without a cost reduction, the next-generation Watches could cost $1,500 or more, likely pricing them out of consideration for many buyers. That $150 price point would also make the Watch’s display more expensive than the 6.7-inch screen on the iPhone 15, which costs $120 to produce.

That said, Apple wants to convert all its devices to microLED, including the Mac and iPhone, so there’s plenty of motivation to rectify production issues. The move will also help Apple slim its relationship with Samsung, which has long supplied Apple displays.

The tech company has been working on microLED technology for the better part of ten years, which would bring better brightness, color, and other benefits to the watch and other devices. Apple is expected to increase the Watch’s screen size with the shift to microLED, moving from 1.93 inches for the Ultra to a 2.12-inch display.

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