Apple Reorganizes Apple Watch Display Team, Firing Dozens of Employees

Published on March 25, 2024

In 2015, Apple introduced the inaugural Apple Watch, featuring an OLED screen. This technology was subsequently extended to its newest iPhone models and is rumored to be soon incorporated into the upcoming iPad Pro.

Many had anticipated that the forthcoming Apple Watch Ultra would debut with a microLED display renowned for its exceptional color, luminance, and clarity. However, recent developments suggest this might not be the case.

Industry insider Ming-Chi Kuo reported in early March that Apple had abandoned its microLED Apple Watch endeavors. Yet, another report quickly challenged this statement, dismissing Kuo’s assertion as unfounded and lacking credibility.

Adding to the conversation, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman has reported on Apple’s longstanding ambition to create its own smartwatch displays, which would have marked the company’s premiere venture into producing its own screen technology. Gurman characterizes this endeavor as an expensive foray into research and development that has come to a halt, coinciding with the rumored discontinuation of the Apple Car project.

Apple’s preference for designing and manufacturing its components in-house is well-known, allowing the tech giant greater control over production and reducing dependence on external suppliers. This approach enables Apple to not only utilize components that are tailored to its specifications but also to significantly enhance them for optimal performance.

Gurman notes Apple’s particular interest in microLED technology, which comprises countless tiny LEDs, for its energy efficiency, superior color fidelity, and capability to enable slimmer device profiles. He suggested that Apple envisioned adopting microLED technology across all its product lines, from Apple Watches and iPhones to Mac computers.

However, challenges emerged when manufacturing partners tasked with scaling up production disclosed the termination of contracts related to microLED projects, such as those with AMS-Osram AG.

Despite these setbacks, the future of microLED technology at Apple remains open. The Apple Vision Pro, for instance, already utilizes microLED technology in its dual eyepieces. According to recent reports, Apple is exploring alternative suppliers and manufacturing techniques, although any new microLED-based products may still be several years away from realization.

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