Rumors about the Apple Watch Series 3 are starting to pick up steam, and now we have a refresh of a rumor that’s been around for a while. It sounds like the company could be preparing to launch a device with a micro-LED display, and what better device to have such a display than the Apple Watch Series 3?
Is it the Apple Watch Series 3?
DigiTimes reports that according to its sources, a few manufacturers that have been working on developing micro-LED displays are planning to start trial production in the second half of the year. The website adds that some are speculating that Apple is also “likely to crank out a small volume of micro LED display products from its plant in Taoyuan, northern Taiwan at the end of the year.”
It sounds like whatever this unnamed product is, it will be something that’s manufactured in very small quantities, so it seems questionable that this could be the Apple Watch Series 3. However, Apple hasn’t been selling enough watches to break the wearable device out of the “Other” category, so compared to the company’s other products, a couple million devices may be considered a small volume.
Interestingly, most of this report has nothing to do with Apple specifically, other than that it mentions the company in passing. However, what it does imply is that some companies are close to having micro-LED displays, so the capability exists.
Other firms scrambling for micro-LED tech
In this case, DigiTimes’ sources reportedly mentioned PlayNitride, which was said to have been targeted by Samsung as a potential acquisition target. The company is reportedly planning to install a trial production line using a “mass transfer process that mounts micro LED chips on” substrates. Apparently, some products using PlayNitride’s technology may hit the market in 2019 after device makers start working with it next year.
Taiwan’s Industrial Technology Research Institute is said to be planning to start trial production of micro-LED displays next year, according to DigiTimes. Additionally, Apple supplier Foxconn recently announced that it plans to acquire eLux through four of its subsidiaries, which has left competitors scrambling to keep up on micro-LED technology. DigiTimes’ sources reportedly said the eLux acquisition “could provide a fast track for Foxconn to commercialize micro-LED technology.”
Micro-LED rumor fueled by Apple’s LuxVue acquisition
We’ve been hearing for quite some time that Apple is working on micro-LED displays, but the question has been which device will be the first get the technology. Naturally, the rumor now is being linked to the Apple Watch Series 3, but even last year we were hearing that the second Apple Watch would have the technology.
Of course that didn’t happen, so now people are considering where the company will use the technology it acquired when it bought LuxVue a few years ago. So while other companies are working to get in the game on micro-LED technology, Apple has had in its position a firm that could be the key to getting the tech onto its devices for a few years. It certainly doesn’t mean that it’s a lock for the Apple Watch Series 3, but clearly, the fact that all these other companies are scrambling means that the tipping point for the technology becoming standard is near.
Apple is also rumored to be planning another serious display upgrade for its products this year, as the iPhone 8 has long been rumored to be the first model to have an OLED display.