An Apple Watch model slated to release in 2017 may feature a micro-LED (mLED) panel for its display according to a new report. Apple currently uses OLED panels for its Apple Watch models.
According to sources in the supply chain from Apple's Taiwan factory, the company will base these new display panels on technology acquired when it purchased LuxVue back in 2014, a company known for its power-efficient mLED displays. The company had also set up a laboratory in northern Taiwan specifically for R&D of new display technologies in 2015.
A chief reason for choosing mLED displays may be because they consume much less battery. Moreover, unlike OLED, mLED is based on conventional GaN LED technology, which offers far higher brightness than OLED products, as much as 30 times in some cases. However, mLED panels are also more expensive to produce than OLED chiefly because no company mass produces this technology for commercial devices so far.
Although the report hints that the technology may arrive in Apple Watch in 2017 it does not specify which model it will be for. Unlike iPhones Apple does not release a new version of its smartwatch every year. For example, the Apple Watch 2 is expected around September this year. It is less likely that Apple will have an Apple Watch 3 released next year, so it might be an extended edition of the Apple Watch 2 in all probability.
The latest reports are in line with an earlier report on Apple Watch where KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said that while the Apple Watch 2 will mainly feature internal improvements, more significant design changes will only occur in 2017. LuxVue, the company acquired by Apple, currently holds multiple mLED patents and it is possible it could develop one of these if granted the right permissions for the Apple Watch 2017.