apple watch

Apple’s journey into the next-gen display technology for its Apple Watch Ultra hit a snag recently. Reports surfaced that the tech giant decided to pull the plug on its highly anticipated microLED Apple Watch Ultra project. This move came as a surprise to many, following the buzz around the potential for a brighter, more energy-efficient display that microLED technology promised.

Behind the scenes, the decision was influenced by a mix of high production costs and the technology’s failure to add significant value to the Apple Watch Ultra. Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo and a report from BGR shed light on the cancellation, pointing out the economic challenges and lack of substantial benefits as key reasons. This development has sparked discussions on the future of wearable tech and Apple’s innovation strategy.

Key Takeaways

  • Apple has ceased the development of the microLED display technology for its Apple Watch Ultra due to high production costs and the technology’s failure to demonstrate meaningful advancements over the current OLED screens, making it financially unviable and not significantly beneficial for users.
  • The cancellation has led to significant economic implications, notably for ams Osram, the screen manufacturer, which experienced a 40% stock value drop and has to sell a newly built factory intended for microLED production.
  • Despite the setback with microLED, the future of the Apple Watch Ultra and Apple’s wearable technology remains focused on improving energy efficiency, health and fitness features, design, and maintaining affordability.
  • Apple’s decision reflects a broader strategy of weighing the cost-benefit balance of new technologies, ensuring they provide real value to users before proceeding, underscoring a cautious yet innovative approach to product development.

Apple Watch Ultra MicroLED Project Overview

The Apple Watch Ultra was supposed to get an upgrade with a new kind of screen called microLED. This technology promised brighter and more colorful displays compared to the current OLED screens. But now, Apple has decided to cancel this project. The reason? It costs too much and didn’t offer enough benefits to make it worth the expense.

Cost Comparison

Display TypeCost
OLED (Current)$38

With microLED screens costing about $150, the price to create an Apple Watch Ultra would have shot up. Right now, Apple pays $38 for the OLED screens it uses. If they switched to microLED, the price of the watch could have doubled, making it too expensive for most people.

Impact on ams Osram

The company making these screens, ams Osram, felt the impact hard. They were building a brand new factory for $1.41 billion just for these displays. When Apple canceled, ams Osram’s stock plummeted by 40%. They now plan to sell this factory to save money.

Future Plans Adjusted

After Apple backed out, ams Osram had to rethink their future. They’re now focusing on damage control and have adjusted their growth target to 6 to 8%. It’s a big change from their original plans with Apple and microLED technology.

What’s Next for Apple Watch Ultra

It’s still unclear what screen technology the next Apple Watch Ultra will use. But it seems like microLED won’t be it. This shift away from microLED raises questions about what kind of screen improvements fans can expect in future models.

Reasons for Cancellation

Apple’s decision to cancel the microLED Apple Watch Ultra project stemmed from two main reasons. First, Apple felt that microLED technology did not add enough value to make a significant difference for users. The tech was impressive but not a game-changer compared to what’s already out there. In short, the experiences between microLED and the current OLED screens on Apple Watches were too similar. Users wouldn’t see a big enough improvement in their daily use.

Second, the costs of making microLED screens were too high. Technology that is new and advanced often costs a lot to develop. MicroLED is no exception. Its production costs far outstripped those of OLED displays, making it a less viable option. To put it into perspective, microLED screens were estimated to cost around $150 each, whereas OLED screens are around $38. This huge difference in cost made Apple rethink its strategy.

The impact of this decision was felt across the tech and financial world. For instance, ams Osram, a key player in the development of the microLED screens for Apple, saw its stock value plummet by nearly 40%. This sudden drop happened after Apple announced the cancellation, showing just how significant this project was. Furthermore, reports suggested layoffs within the microLED development team, highlighting the personal and professional toll of such cancellations.

Experts from Counterpoint Research pointed to low production yields as a key issue. Manufacturing microLEDs is tricky, and getting enough good ones proved challenging. This, combined with the high costs and risks, put the final nail in the coffin for the project.

It’s unclear what Apple’s next move will be in terms of the Apple Watch Ultra’s screen technology. Will they stick with OLED, or is there another tech on the horizon? Only time will tell.

Economic Challenges

The cancellation of the Apple Watch Ultra with microLED display highlights a major economic hurdle for Apple. They planned to bring something new to the market. But, it turned out to be more costly than they expected. MicroLED technology is expensive to develop. Compared to OLED, the current standard for screens, microLED did not offer enough benefits to justify the high cost.

When companies like Apple decide to cancel big projects, it’s often because of money. In this case, they found that making microLED screens was not only hard but also very expensive. They had to look at what people really need from their products. Also, they had to consider how much they would pay. They saw that OLED screens already do a great job for less money.

The impact of dropping the microLED project was big. It led to a 40% drop in ams Osram’s stock value. This shows how much investors were counting on this new technology to succeed. Plus, layoffs within Apple’s development team added to the challenge. Losing a project means losing jobs, which is tough for everyone involved.

The decision to cancel also makes people wonder what Apple will do next. Will they try another new screen technology, or stick with OLED? This move shows that even big companies have to watch their spending. They have to make sure their projects make sense money-wise.

In the end, the economic challenges proved too much for the microLED Apple Watch Ultra. Apple’s focus on keeping costs manageable reflects a careful balance. They aim to bring new tech to customers without making things too expensive. This balance is key in the tech industry, where costs can quickly spiral.

Lack of Substantial Benefits

When Apple decided to stop their work on the Apple Watch Ultra with a microLED screen, it wasn’t just about money. They also thought hard about whether this new technology would really make the watch better for people who use it. After looking at everything, they decided it wouldn’t make a big enough difference.

MicroLED technology has some cool features, like brighter colors and better battery life. But, for a small device like a watch, these improvements didn’t seem to matter as much. Most users might not even notice the change from the current OLED screens. This made Apple question if going forward with microLED was the right choice.

Another point to think about was the cost. MicroLED screens are more expensive to make than OLED ones. Since the improvements weren’t huge, spending more money didn’t make sense. It was important for Apple to keep the watch affordable for as many people as possible. High costs could push the price up, making it hard for some folks to buy it.

Lastly, they looked at how people use their watches. For many, the watch is a helper for daily tasks and health tracking. The current screen does these jobs pretty well. Switching to microLED wouldn’t dramatically change how people interact with their watch. This insight played a part in Apple’s decision to stick with the tech they already have.

In all, Apple wants to make sure any new features really help users and are worth the extra cost. With the Apple Watch Ultra’s microLED project, they didn’t see enough of a benefit to keep going. This shows Apple is thinking carefully about what’s best for their customers and not just chasing the latest tech trend.

Future of Wearable Tech and Apple’s Innovation Strategy

The cancellation of the microLED Apple Watch Ultra doesn’t signal the end of the road for Apple’s wearable tech journey. Apple’s known for pushing the boundaries in tech, and its watch is a prime example. They’re always on the lookout for ways to make their devices better and more useful for everyone.

One big area Apple focuses on is making devices last longer on a single charge. Battery life is key for gadgets you wear all day. Even though the microLED tech for the Apple Watch Ultra was scrapped, the search for energy-efficient and vibrant displays continues. Apple wants to ensure whatever tech they use is truly helpful and makes a difference in how you use the device.

Another aspect is health and fitness features. Apple Watches have gained popularity for their health monitoring abilities. They track your heart rate, how much you move, and even how well you sleep. It’s likely Apple will invest more in these areas, trying to find new and better ways to keep folks healthy.

Then there’s the design. Apple aims to make its devices not just useful but also stylish. They want you to feel good wearing their tech. Changes and improvements in design are always on the table.

Price is also important. Apple tries to balance making top-notch tech with keeping things affordable. They know not everyone can spend a lot on a watch.

Finally, Apple never puts all its eggs in one basket. Even though the microLED project for the watch is off the table, they’re likely working on other big ideas. They might be exploring better screens for iPhones or iPads or even thinking about how to make Macs better.

In the endless quest for innovation, Apple keeps an eye on what’s next. They’re not just chasing the latest flashy tech. They’re looking for things that will truly improve our lives. And that’s what keeps them at the forefront of the tech world.


The discontinuation of the microLED Apple Watch Ultra project doesn’t signal a halt in Apple’s quest for innovation. Instead, it underscores the company’s unwavering commitment to pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in wearable technology. With a keen eye on enhancing key features such as battery life and health monitoring while maintaining affordability and design aesthetics, Apple is set to continue leading the tech industry. The journey beyond microLED is just another step in Apple’s relentless pursuit of excellence, ensuring that users can always look forward to meaningful advancements in their wearable devices.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is MicroLED Technology?

MicroLED technology involves tiny LEDs that offer better color, brightness, and energy efficiency compared to OLED. This allows for more vibrant displays and the possibility for slimmer, more flexible screens.

Why did Apple Cancel the MicroLED Apple Watch Ultra?

Apple canceled the MicroLED Apple Watch Ultra project due to the high costs of production and the assessment that the improvements over OLED displays wouldn’t significantly enhance user experience.

Does the Apple Watch Ultra have an OLED screen?

Yes, the current Apple Watch Ultra models are equipped with an Always-On Retina LTPO OLED display.

Does Apple use OLED or AMOLED?

Apple uses OLED technology for its screens, providing high-quality display performance for its iPhones and Apple Watches.

Why won’t my Apple Watch display stay on?

Your Apple Watch display may not stay on because of software glitches, incorrect settings, or battery issues. Fixing this typically involves restarting your watch, updating its software, or adjusting its display settings.

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