Apple’s otherwise positive MicroLED display changeover will be highlighted by perseverance

With its distinctive qualities, microLED display technology has carefully outlined its advantages in large formats, such as TVs. It will take time and perseverance to implement this in less sophisticated tech like smartwatches and phones.

Every Apple Watch generation since the original model from that simpler period in 2014 has incorporated OLED displays. OLED, or organic light-emitting diode, displays have undergone numerous iterations throughout this period, with LTPO OLED (LTPO stands for low-temperature polycrystalline oxide) becoming the standard since the Watch Series 4 in 2018. That remains the situation.

Apple’s otherwise positive MicroLED

Though nothing may change this year, Apple may be planning the largest display upgrade for the Apple Watch by 2024. That should mark the beginning of a series of adjustments that will eventually affect the product lines for the iPad, iPhone, MacBook, and iMac as well. But if you’re hoping to put off getting a new iPhone or Mac because you think display technology will change quickly in the next years, we can guarantee you that it won’t happen this quickly.

Numerous analysts have claimed during the past few weeks that Apple is thinking about moving to the microLED display technology. starting with the Watch, that is. Could this also indicate that the Apple Watch’s display sizes may change? Currently, the Apple Watch comes in three different sizes: 41mm, 44mm, and the somewhat wider Watch Ultra, which has a little larger 1.92-inch display. The 44mm model has a 1.9-inch display.

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Some of the best displays in the smartwatch ecosystem are found in the Watch Series 8, Watch SE, and Apple Watch Ultra. These screens have gotten brighter over time, and competitors in the Android ecosystem have found it challenging to combine vividness, clarity, and responsiveness into a single package. Therefore, if Apple considers using a different display technology, is there a larger risk than a potential upside?

The solution is to avoid considering this issue in isolation with only wearables. The reach can extend considerably farther.

To do that, it is necessary to first comprehend what a microLED is and how it evolved from an OLED. MicroLED uses millions of individual light-emitting diodes, just like OLED, to illuminate the display. The use of a backlight is not necessary. The benefit is that each pixel may be individually adjusted, allowing for deeper (and more accurate) blacks on the screen.

Perceptive illumination is another benefit of micro-LEDs. particularly in TVs. At CES 2023, Samsung, for instance, displayed microLED TVs with a rated peak brightness of 4000 nits. An OLED or QLED TV can only handle half of that. It would be fantastic news if a smartwatch, phone, or computing device had that benefit.

As a remark, Samsung did heavily emphasise micro LEDs on the CES show floor this year, which will shape the direction of the product pipeline for the ensuing few months.

The OLED panels of the Apple Watch Ultra and iPhone 14 Pro series have a maximum brightness of 2000 nits. Use outside in direct sunshine is manageable. However, doubling the brightness (possibly) may be a significant improvement. The Liquid Retina XDR panels on the most recent MacBook Pro models have a maximum brightness of 1,600 nits.

But if Apple does choose to usher in the next era of displays with the Apple Watch, there will be a significant size issue to overcome. TVs have benefited the most from this technology so far. In the upcoming two years, we can only hope that smaller display size technology and use cases will become more prominent, giving us a good notion of how micro LEDs function in smaller panels.

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Who will produce Apple’s microLED displays? Your hunch is just as valid as ours. Samsung Display is a possibility. LG Display is a possibility. Before the manufacturing partner makes the screens, Apple is likely to design them, which simply means focusing on the details of what they want. The procedure is currently in use for all devices, including the iPhone. Some analysts predict (they are, at best, educated estimates) that LG Display will be in charge of producing the microLED display for the Apple Watch.

If Apple does implement the new display technology in the Apple Watch in 2025, then gradually the complete product lineup would also adopt it. Even if we assume one product line switches every year, it will still take some time. Some product lines may switch over earlier than others under certain circumstances.

Purely speculative (until it happens): for example, the iPad Pro devices will get new displays before the iPad Air, the iPad, or the iPad Mini. That’s just one illustration. There are numerous distinct iPhone and Mac models. However, Apple had to begin somewhere. The Apple Watch Ultra upgrade in 2024 or 2025 might be the ideal time for it.


Where has microLED technology outlined its advantages?

With its distinctive qualities, microLED display technology has carefully outlined its advantages in large formats, such as TVs.

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