An Apple Watch with a MicroLED display could launch in 2020

The smartwatch could be the first from the company to house the screen tech
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An Apple Watch with a MicroLED display could debut in 2020 according to a new report.

Chinese-based publication Economic Daily News claims the smartwatch could feature the budding display technology and the company has reportedly already had talks with display manufacturers in Taiwan to get them on Watches next year.

Essential reading: Apple Watch Series 5 investigation

The move would see typical OLED screens currently used in the Watch replaced by the low-power equivalent, with a prototype reportedly already in the works.

MicroLED displays have a couple of advantages over OLED displays. They require about half the power, so they're much more energy efficient. They're also brighter and have higher contrast ratios. It's also possible to tune colours to be more vibrant and richer. They're thinner too, which means they enable thinner devices - or in this case, thinner Apple Watches.

This isn't the first time we've heard rumors that Apple has been considering switching display technologies for its devices. A report from Bloomberg, suggested Apple was looking to make a "significant investment" over the coming years.

It suggested Apple produced its first MicroLED Apple Watch sample in 2017 — codenamed the T159 project — with the smartwatch targeted as the area in which Apple will debut the new technology, instead of the iPhone. Initial manufacture of the displays is said to be taking place in a large facility in Santa Clara, with the long-term aim to halt the reliance on competitors, such as LG and Samsung, to produce screens.

Apple would still have to outsource the manufacture of its displays to bring it to a mass market device, but developing the technology itself would allow it to set certain standards within quality and, generally, have more of a say in what's going into one of its products.

And it's something we've seen Apple build towards for some time now. Back in 2014, it acquired LuxVue, a company working on bringing MicroLED to mass market devices, and that initial foray is now allegedly being ramped up.

Just when we see the fruits of the company's labour remains to be seen, but it appears it'll be too early to be included in the Watch Series 5 we expect to see before the end of 2018. We guess we should peg this one in for the Apple Watch Series 6 instead.

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Conor Allison


Conor moved to Wareable Media Group in 2017, initially covering all the latest developments in smartwatches, fitness trackers, and VR. He made a name for himself writing about trying out translation earbuds on a first date and cycling with a wearable airbag, as well as covering the industry’s latest releases.

Following a stint as Reviews Editor at Pocket-lint, Conor returned to Wareable Media Group in 2022 as Editor-at-Large. Conor has become a wearables expert, and helps people get more from their wearable tech, via Wareable's considerable how-to-based guides. 

He has also contributed to British GQ, Wired, Metro, The Independent, and The Mirror. 

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