It has long been rumored that Apple might not be switching to MicroLED display technology for its Apple Watch series any time soon. A new report from a Korean publication suggests that an Apple Watch Ultra with a MicroLED display will arrive in 2027 at the earliest. Previous reports had pointed towards a 2025 release. Supply chain issues are reportedly causing delays. The Cupertino-based company launched the new Apple Watch Ultra 2 along with the iPhone 15 lineup in September last year.
According to a report from The Elec, the Apple Watch with a MicroLED display has been delayed to 2026. The report cited analysts as saying that the 2027 release date is also uncertain. Apple has reportedly not yet been able to finalize the component supply chain to make MicroLED displays for the Apple Watch. This contradicts previous reports pointing to a 2025 release. Trend Force opined last year that the launch of the next Apple Watch Ultra has been pushed to 2026, while DSCC's Ross Young previously said that 2025 could be the year of microLED on the Apple Watch.
High microLED manufacturing costs may be the main reason for supply issues. According to the report, the cost of manufacturing a 2-inch MicroLED display is $150 (roughly Rs. 12,000), which is almost four times that of $38 (roughly Rs. 3,000) for an OLED panel. Incorporating microLED technology into a wearable device priced at $799 could be a challenge for Apple as it impacts the company's revenue from the product.
Currently, Apple uses OLED displays for its wearables. MicroLED display technology offers better resolution, lifetime, color contrast and better viewing capabilities at viewing angles compared to traditional panels. There is widespread speculation that the company will replace the existing OLED standard with MicroLED technology in its iPhone, iPad and Mac units from 2024.
Apple unveiled the new Apple Watch Ultra 2 along with the iPhone 15 lineup and Watch Series 9 last year. It is currently available in India for Rs. 89,900 in Alpine Loop, Trail Loop and Ocean Band options.
The Apple Watch Ultra 2 features a 49mm case with a Retina display that offers a peak brightness of up to 3,000 nits. It runs on watchOS 10 and has Apple's custom S9 SiP under the hood. The watch supports diving to a depth of 40 meters.