Apple has been rumored for quite some time to be planning to switch from OLED displays to microLEDs for the Apple Watch, and now we have an update to this rumor. An Asian news outlet reports that the Apple Watch Series 6 may have microLED panels.
Citing sources familiar with Apple’s supply chain, the Chinese-language Economic Daily News reports that the Apple Watch with microLED could be ready by next year, which is much earlier than previous rumors have claimed. DigiTimes reported last year that Apple was planning to work with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) on microLEDs for its smartwatch, possibly for release in 2019. That hasn’t happened yet though, and Bloomberg said before DigiTimes’ report that Apple may not switch to microLED panels for the Apple Watch any earlier than next year. Bloomberg also reported that Apple was secretly designing its own microLEDs for upcoming devices, which suggested the company wouldn’t be using third-party suppliers for them.
The reported suppliers wouldn’t confirm any deal to provide the Apple Watch Series 6 with microLED panels (or any later models either), although one of the companies did say it has contacts with the smartwatch industry in the U.S. Economic Daily News said it would take about nine months to mass produce the panels, which would also point to it not happening until the Apple Watch Series 6 next year.
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Apple is expected to switch to microLED panels from OLED displays at some point because the technology should bring improvements to battery life and enable the company to make thinner, brighter devices. Of course, as with all Apple rumors, we should take this one with a grain of salt. As with all technology in development, setbacks could cause delays, so we may not see the Apple Watch Series 6 with microLED panels next year after all.
In the meantime, rumors about upcoming Apple Watch models continue. The reports generally focus on the Series 5, which is expected to be released later this year. The main rumor we’ve heard repeatedly is that the Series 5 will mark a significant departure from previous models because it will finally be able to operate more independently of the iPhone. watchOS will add a new App Store to the watch so users can add or delete apps directly from the watch without having to do it via the iPhone.