Apple may use Micro LED in wearables 'as soon as 2018'

Posted:
in Apple Watch
Apple may adopt Micro LED displays for wearables like the Apple Watch as soon as next year, according to a report.




"Apple is working very hard to foster the Micro LED technology," said one executive source, described by Japan's Nikkei as being familiar with displays. "The company could push the use of new display tech as early as next year."

The person suggested that Apple is currently the only company able to launch any products using Micro LED, given that the technology is in an early phase with low yield rates in production. Apple bought Micro LED firm LuxVue in May 2014.

A former Qualcomm facility in Taoyuan, Taiwan is allegedly instrumental to Apple's development process. That echoes a report in May, which said that the facility is producing a small batch of Micro LED screens to evaluate for future products.

A second Nikkei source -- an executive within Apple's supply chain -- backed the claim that the company is adopting Micro LED, but couldn't offer a timeline.

To date every Apple Watch has used OLED, a display technology so far missing from other Apple products due to cost and production scaling issues. The "iPhone 8" should be the first non-Watch device to skip LCD.

Another possible Micro LED wearable from Apple is a rumored set of augmented reality glasses. Though that product is thought to be a long way from shelves, a new iOS developer toolset -- ARKit -- may be a stepping stone.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 14
    sockrolidsockrolid Posts: 2,788member
    Micro LED could and should make the watchOS 4 "flashlight" feature extra-super-bright.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 14
    In the world of technology, "as early as next year" simply means...not this year. Anything can happen in a year of technology.
    The_Martini_Catanton zuykov
  • Reply 3 of 14
    boltsfan17boltsfan17 Posts: 2,050member
    Apple actually wouldn't be the first company to use Micro LED. Sony has already been making Micro LED TV's. 
  • Reply 4 of 14
    ...so not until Apple Watch Series 4?
  • Reply 5 of 14
    anomeanome Posts: 1,174member
    ...so not until Apple Watch Series 4?
    There's no reason to expect Series 3 this year. If they keep to a roughly 18 month cycle, we wouldn't see it until March or later next year. Do we have comformation that Series 3 will be any earlier than that?
  • Reply 6 of 14
    bestkeptsecretbestkeptsecret Posts: 3,031member





    What exactly is this picture? Darth Vader on Mustafar?
    argonaut
  • Reply 7 of 14
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 4,456member





    What exactly is this picture? Darth Vader on Mustafar?
    If it is then he's about to lose his Apple Watch…
    StrangeDays
  • Reply 8 of 14
    irelandireland Posts: 17,473member
    Apple actually wouldn't be the first company to use Micro LED. Sony has already been making Micro LED TV's. 
    Link me to one the micro LED Sony TVs they have on sale. I cannot find one.
  • Reply 9 of 14
    brucemcbrucemc Posts: 1,469member
    anome said:
    ...so not until Apple Watch Series 4?
    There's no reason to expect Series 3 this year. If they keep to a roughly 18 month cycle, we wouldn't see it until March or later next year. Do we have comformation that Series 3 will be any earlier than that?
    There is no reason to expect Apple to maintain an 18 month cycle either.  The Apple Watch is very much a "holiday gift" item, so it fits well with a new release in the fall.  

    There of course is pretty much never a confirmation from Apple about when an update comes - we have no confirmation of an iPhone in September any year either, but does happen.  Yes, there are rumours of a new watch version coming, which has better batter, and perhaps smart bands.
  • Reply 10 of 14
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 6,525member
    ireland said:
    Apple actually wouldn't be the first company to use Micro LED. Sony has already been making Micro LED TV's. 
    Link me to one the micro LED Sony TVs they have on sale. I cannot find one.
    From what I can find Sony has only produced prototypes, not actual products for sale. It’s still in the experimental stage. Apparently they did demonstrate one at this year’s CES. That’s a far cry from @boltsfan17 claiming they are already making Micro LED TVs. It wouldn’t surprise me if Apple does become the first to release an actual product.
    edited June 2017 StrangeDays
  • Reply 11 of 14
    Herbivore2Herbivore2 Posts: 362member
    ireland said:
    Apple actually wouldn't be the first company to use Micro LED. Sony has already been making Micro LED TV's. 
    Link me to one the micro LED Sony TVs they have on sale. I cannot find one.
    ireland said:
    Apple actually wouldn't be the first company to use Micro LED. Sony has already been making Micro LED TV's. 
    Link me to one the micro LED Sony TVs they have on sale. I cannot find one.
    Sony's technology is known as CLEDIS. (Crystal LED integrated structure). It uses small LEDs though micro is a stretch. It does allow for better contrast over conventional backlit LCD panels. It absolutely does NOT compete well with OLED. LG's large screen OLED displays still offer a superior picture and the company has been bringing down the cost of large panel OLED displays dramatically. Even Samsung itself makes Quantum dot displays which are superior to what Sony has. 

    Sony's plans are for commercial deployment of the technology. They haven't released the product, and it is very unlikely to ever make it to a consumer application. 

    MicroLED displays have significant advantages over conventional LCDs. But they are not ANYWHERE close to the capabilities of OLED displays. 

    For a fixed screen device like a watch, they are fine. However, they are not bendable like OLED panels are and get this, Samsung has developed a stretchable OLED panel. 

    https://www.sammobile.com/2017/05/25/samsung-details-worlds-first-9-1-inch-stretchable-amoled-display/

    https://www.sammobile.com/2017/05/30/video-shows-samsungs-stretchable-oled-display-in-action/

    Samsung is so incredibly far ahead of the rest of the industry in display technology, it's quite sobering. Their Bio Blue technology has no equal. 

    Apple had better develop a much closer working relationship with Samsung and pronto. Google's Android is living on borrowed time. Tizen has already displaced Android wear as the number two wearable platform. 

    https://www.sammobile.com/2017/05/11/tizen-overtakes-android-wear-in-smartwatch-market-share/

    Samsung also has plans to release Tizen again in high end handsets also. Anyone want to take a guess the kind of hardware that Tizen will be running on? Well, it won't have an LCD panel and the panel and form factor WON'T be duplicated by any other manufacturer. 

    Samsung pay using the Gear S3 Frontier is actually quite good. Far more compatible and better than Android pay. Samsung does need to beef up security in Tizen, although Android isn't any better. 

    MicroLED displays are nice, but inferior to OLED. It isn't even close. Apple is having trouble manufacturing these displays for an incredibly small screen such as a watch. Samsung has that totally locked down on the OLED side. And the things they are coming up for their OLED technology is incredible. Google shot themselves in the head when they treated Samsung poorly with respect to Android. Hopefully Apple hasn't done the same thing with the iOS lawsuit and moving to TSMC as a foundry. They are purchasing large quantities of Samsung OLED panels for the upcoming iPhone 8. So that's a good sign. That move in and of itself is sending shockwaves throughout the entire Android ecosystem. Not even Google itself is able to secure a supply of OLED panels, never mind enough NAND flash memory to meet the demand for the Pixel. Does hardware and components matter? Oh yes. And they won't be commoditized when a single manufacturer is so incredibly far ahead of everyone else in a critical component. It's not like Google can shut Samsung off anywhere else. Samsung makes ALL of the key components in their devices. The fall of QCOM removes the final barrier to Samsung being able to own every critical piece in a mobile device. 

    Cook messed up. But he still has a chance to mend things with Samsung. Google is finished in the mobile arena. It's really only a matter of time now. Apple can still build compelling devices. But it's a far different story on the Android side. What is happening to Android wear will soon be happening to Android itself. 
  • Reply 12 of 14
    boltsfan17boltsfan17 Posts: 2,050member
    lkrupp said:
    ireland said:
    Apple actually wouldn't be the first company to use Micro LED. Sony has already been making Micro LED TV's. 
    Link me to one the micro LED Sony TVs they have on sale. I cannot find one.
    From what I can find Sony has only produced prototypes, not actual products for sale. It’s still in the experimental stage. Apparently they did demonstrate one at this year’s CES. That’s a far cry from @boltsfan17 claiming they are already making Micro LED TVs. It wouldn’t surprise me if Apple does become the first to release an actual product.
    I guess I"m wrong. I could have sworn Sony had made a consumer Micro LED TV back in 2012 but apparently it never went to production looking it up now. 
  • Reply 13 of 14
    boltsfan17boltsfan17 Posts: 2,050member

    lkrupp said:
    ireland said:
    Apple actually wouldn't be the first company to use Micro LED. Sony has already been making Micro LED TV's. 
    Link me to one the micro LED Sony TVs they have on sale. I cannot find one.
    From what I can find Sony has only produced prototypes, not actual products for sale. It’s still in the experimental stage. Apparently they did demonstrate one at this year’s CES. That’s a far cry from @boltsfan17 claiming they are already making Micro LED TVs. It wouldn’t surprise me if Apple does become the first to release an actual product.
    You're right. I thought the Micro LED TV Sony unveiled in 2012 went into production, but it never did. My bad. 

    EDIT: Oops meant to reply to @ireland ;
    edited June 2017
  • Reply 14 of 14
    bruckheimerbruckheimer Posts: 115member
    I bet that would increase battery life on the Apple Watch
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