LG Display has bought the rights to 14 patents that are all to do with the notoriously problematic microLED displays that Apple Watch Ultra is expected to gain by 2026.
MicroLED gives higher brightness and sharper images than OLED, and Apple has been believed to be planning to move to it. Originally it was reported that the company would start using it in a future generation of the Apple Watch Ultra, and then spread out to using it on most or all devices.
However, this plan then reportedly hit delays and most recently it was said that Apple Watch Ultra wouldn't get a microLED until some time in 2026. It was presumed that the delay was to do with production yield problems, and it appears that manufacturer LG Display has been working to surmount these.
According to The Elec, LG Display bought 14 US patents from Taiwanese firm Ultra Display Technology (UDT) in June 2023. While neither company has commented, unspecified industry sources say that all 13 of the registered patents and a single outstanding patent application concern microLED.
The patents chiefly concern what's called the transfer process, which entails planting several dozen chips a tight and specific location. LG has bought patents for how to handle particularly small chips.
It doesn't appear that buying the patents will shorten the time taken to introduce microLED to the Apple Watch Ultra. While news of the patents has only been revealed today, the purchase was made in June.
That's when the reports of a 2026 launch schedule were first heard, and it's not clear whether LG calculated its estimates after acquiring the patents.