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Apple Watch Ultra is not the only micro LED project Apple has cancelled

Apple Watch Ultra

Following AppleInsider's report on Thursday about the likely cancellation of the Apple Watch Ultra with micro LED, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo says that Apple has abandoned nearly all of its plans to use micro LED displays.

Following news that the micro LED Apple Watch Ultra 3 may be dead, Ming-Chi Kuo is reporting why he believes it's happened. He also names ams Osram as the supplier, which was previously only suspected and not confirmed by either party.

"My latest investigation indicates that Apple has canceled the development plan for the Micro LED Apple Watch," wrote Kuo on Twitter/X. "The reason is that Apple believes that Micro LED cannot significantly increase the added value of the product, and the production cost is too high, making it uneconomical to invest."

Kuo further says that Apple has laid off many people from its micro LED development team. This team was working on more than the Apple Watch Ultra, and he adds that there is no sign of any further micro LED devices being worked on.

There appear to be some oddities in Kuo's reporting, starting with how he claims that ams Osram cancelled its contract with Apple. Assuming Kuo is correct about which supplier is involved, it appears that the reverse was true — and brutal.

The CEO of ams Osram, while saying only that an unnamed client had cancelled, told press that "the shock is still deep."

Second, Kuo describes the cancellation as "undoubtedly a major setback for Apple." It's only a setback for ams Osram — which reportedly has built a purpose-made $1.41 billion factory in Malaysia to service Apple.

Kuo argues that this is a setback because Apple wants to use improved displays to make the Apple Watch Ultra more competitive. But this directly follows his saying Apple doesn't think micro LED can add enough value to the Apple Watch Ultra to make it worth the investment.

Apple was bringing micro LED to more devices

The advantages of micro LED over other display technologies such as OLED, is that it's much thinner, consumes less power, and are brighter in outdoor conditions. They're also able to be used on curved or foldable surfaces.

Consequently, while it was believed that the Apple Watch Ultra would be the first Apple device to get micro LED, previous reports claimed that it would come later to the iPhone, iPad, and Mac.

The cancellation is a smaller-scale repeat of Apple's ending of its Apple Car project. While Apple hasn't spent ten years on the micro LED display for the Watch, it has invested time and seen multiple delays over it.