Apple currently sources displays from Samsung, LG, and BOE, but has plans to switch to custom panels, reducing its reliance on all three manufacturers. This whole process will begin when it introduces microLED technology for the upcoming Apple Watch Ultra. However, a display analyst says LG will be the company supplying those panels for the next flagship wear, so one way or another, Apple will still be dependent on a supplier.
LG’s new Apple Watch Ultra with microLED displays is not expected to be released until 2025
LG is said to be building a small-capacity-only production line to mass-produce microLED panels for the new Apple Watch Ultra, according to display analyst Ross Young, who provided the necessary details in a tweet. It is also believed that mass production of these screens will start in the second half of 2024, which means that the launch of the new model will happen sometime in 2025.
However, in a note to investors from analyst Jeff Pu, the microLED Apple Watch Ultra could be launched as soon as 2024 and it would feature a larger display compared to its predecessor. Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman also said that consumers could see the larger smartwatch as early as next year, so these estimated launch timelines are all over the place at this time.
We reported in our November Capex report that LGD is building a small line of microLED backlights for the Apple Watch. Production doesn’t start until 2H’24. This small line will likely collect microLEDs from Apple for launch ’25. Apple will not do the full process.
– Ross Young (@DSCCRoss) January 13, 2023
As to why Apple should stick with LG to mass-produce microLED panels when its intention is to reduce reliance on such suppliers, Young comments that the tech giant will rely on its partners to some extent because it can’t be involved in the whole process. Of course, setting up entire display production lines that need to produce millions of units is a tedious and expensive process, not to mention the expertise required will be hard to come by.
In short, it will cost less for Apple to rely on a single supplier than building its own facility from scratch. After finally launching the Apple Watch Ultra with microLED technology and the company trusting these screens, it is expected that it will be introduced in other products, but the entire transition may take about 10 years. If you’ve been waiting for microLED to arrive on your iPhone or iPad much sooner, we’d advise you to be patient.
news source: Ross Young