Micro-LED Apple Watch Ultra project not cancelled | Existing Ultra model shown

We last week cast doubt on reports that the micro-LED Apple Watch Ultra project had been cancelled, and a new supply-chain report appears to confirm our view.

It says that while Osram was in line to supply micro-LED screens for the Watch, and has been dropped by Apple, the Cupertino company is still working on the project, and is simply seeking new suppliers …

Last week’s Micro-LED Apple Watch Ultra reports

Two reports last week said that Apple’s micro-LED Apple Watch Ultra project was apparently cancelled, based on a statement by an Apple display supplier.

These were based on one known fact: A company called AMS Osram said that big micro-LED project on which it was working was abruptly cancelled by the client.

We described product cancellation as unlikely

Things got very speculative from there, as we noted:

A company which may or may not have been a future Apple supplier, and which may or may not have been the company’s sole planned micro-LED partner, has a project cancelled by a client who may or may not have been Apple, and which may or may not mean the whole micro-LED Apple Watch Ultra plan has been abandoned.

We suggested that, at most, this might mean a delay to a product whose timing had always been unknown, with conflicting reports suggesting planned launch dates of 2024, 2025, 2026, and 2027.

Supply-chain reports back our view

Later the same day, TrendForce weighed in, pointing out that Osram is not the only potential supplier, and that Taiwan and South Korea each has plenty of companies able to offer all the necessary tech.

Digitimes has today echoed this view, and gone further to say that Apple is actively seeking new suppliers.

Industry observers pointed out that Apple remains committed to microLED technology and is expected to explore alternative suppliers. Taiwan’s AU Optronics (AUO) and PlayNitride, which have just begun mass production of microLED watch display panels and chips respectively, are among the prospective frontrunners to fulfill Apple’s production needs.

The report suggests that Apple was indeed the Osram client to cancel, but this was because the would-be supplier had not shown the progress expected of it. It says the project is still very much alive.

Despite terminating cooperation with Osram, Apple still has multiple internal teams dedicated to Micro LED projects, actively seeking alternative suppliers since 2023. 

As we said last week, the question regarding a micro-LED Apple Watch is not if, but when.

Photo by Daniel Romero on Unsplash

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