The Apple Watch and iPhone could ditch OLED displays
➡️ The Shortcut Skinny: Goodbye OLED
⌚ The Apple Watch will reportedly drop its OLED screen from next year
📺 Apple is set to replace it with an in-house microLED display
📱 The iPhone is expected to eventually follow suit
⚔️ Apple wants to reduce its reliance on competitor tech companies
Apple plans to drop OLED screens from future Apple Watches by the end of next year in favor of microLED displays.
That’s according to Bloomberg journalist Mark Gurman, who reports Apple is making the switch to reduce its reliance on rival OLED-producing technology manufacturers like Samsung and LG.
Future microLED screens won’t be produced in-house, per se, but designed by Apple before manufacturing is outsourced to an external supplier (one that isn’t a major Apple competitor).
Other devices including iPhones will eventually follow suit, although Gurman predicts that the switch is still several years away.
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MicroLED displays have been around for years, but haven’t yet found much commercial use. They’re typically more expensive to make than OLED screens, but are touted as offering the same high brightness ceilings, perfect blacks and solid off-angle viewing.
“The next-generation [Apple Watch displays] are designed to offer brighter, more vibrant colors and the ability to be better seen at an angle,” Gurman says. “The displays make content appear like it’s painted on top of the glass, according to people who have seen them, who asked not to be identified because the project is still under wraps.”
The change of screen could bring with it a change in price. Last year saw price increases across the tech sector, including Sony hiking the PS5 price and Meta raising the retail cost of the Meta Quest 2. Inflated manufacturing costs combined with a change of display could push the price of the Apple Watch sky-high.
This isn’t the first time Apple’s changed components to shuffle out from under the competitors. It’s already developed its own M2 chips – which are expected to feature in this year’s MacBook Pro, Mac Mini and Mac Pro – to replace the Intel processors it previously relied on.
If it continues investing in display technology, maybe we’ll see an Apple-branded TV someday. Apple is already rumored to have several new monitors in the pipeline, and the official reveal of its in-development mixed-reality headset is in sight. These microLED screens could go anywhere.