Hopes of a microLED Apple Watch Ultra take another hit as supplier woes continue

A future Apple Watch Ultra is expected to switch to microLED display tech, but a new report claims supplier issues are proving problematic.

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Apple has long been rumored to want to switch a future Apple Watch Ultra to new microLED display technology but recent reports again suggest that the company might be having issues in finding a supplier for those displays.

In a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday, a company that produces manufacturing equipment Kulicke & Soffa reported that one of its "strategic customers" has now canceled a project related to the "advanced display" market. While there was no clarification on who the customer is or what the display would be, display analyst Ross Young suggests that this is related to Apple's future Apple Watch Ultra plans.

The project, previously called Project W, the project was thought to be related to a microLED watch and as a result of the cancelation, it's said there will be up to £140 million in surcharges.

This is the second time of late that we've seen action in terms of the suppliers potentially tasked with producing displays for the microLED Apple Watch Ultra. Just earlier this month AMS-Osram announced that it was also going to rejig its microLED display strategy after what it called a "cornerstone project" was unexpectedly canceled. It was thought that the cancelation was again related to the Apple Watch, meaning that two companies are now seemingly out of the project.

This all backs up previous claims by Young and analyst Ming-Chi Kuo that Apple has canceled its microLED Apple Watch Ultra plans for the foreseeable future, although those plans could conceivably change in the future. Notably, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman recently said that Apple is still actively seeking suppliers on the project, perhaps suggesting that there has been some other issue to cause these two companies to fall out of favor.

The switch to a microLED display for the Apple Watch now seems increasingly unlikely to happen any time soon. In terms of why such a change could be beneficial, the move to microLED technology could allow for thinner and less power-hungry displays, improving battery life. The same technology could also make displays brighter, something that is beneficial in a wearable device for obvious reasons. The Apple Watch Ultra 2 already gets plenty bright of course, but additional brightness when using a smartwatch in direct sunlight is never a bad thing to have.

Apple is expected to announce a new Apple Watch Ultra alongside the rumored Apple Watch X (to celebrate 10 years of the Apple Watch) later this year, likely in September. Such a launch would coincide with the release of the new iPhone 16 and iPhone 16 Pro models.

NEWS SOURCES:macrumors.com, apple.com

Based in the UK, Oliver has been writing about technology, entertainment, and games for more than a decade. If there's something with a battery or a plug, he's interested. After spending too much money building gaming PCs, Oliver switched to Apple and the Mac - and now spends too much on those instead.

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