LG Purchases MicroLED Patents for Apple Watch Ultra Displays
Reportedly, the South Korean company has acquired a series of patents with a focus on microLED displays, potentially revolutionizing the Apple wearable’s visual performance.
LG’s patent acquisition from a Taiwanese company centers around the “transfer printing process” within microLED technology, details the source.
These patents encompass various microLED aspects, including stacking techniques, touch control sensing, as well as applications in augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and heads-up displays (HUD).
The “transfer printing process” is a critical aspect of microLED technology, involving the intricate placement of minuscule chips, ranging from a few micrometers to several dozen nanometers in size.
The minute size of these chips poses challenges in execution, resulting in lower yields during the manufacturing process. Consequently, the technology entails higher costs due to the need for chip replacements to ensure quality.
LG’s acquisition of these microLED patents signifies the company’s commitment to refining the profitability of microLED production.
The company is currently setting up a specialized production line to supply microLED displays to Apple’s future smartwatch models. Expected to commence operations in the latter half of 2024, this facility will provide microLED backplanes and assemble Apple’s displays.
Previous information from display analyst Ross Young suggested that an Apple Watch Ultra featuring a microLED display might launch in the second half of 2025.
However, a recent TrendForce report citing manufacturing cost challenges suggests further delays, indicating a potential launch no earlier than the first quarter of 2026.
The current Apple Watch Ultra employs standard OLED technology. However, the adoption of microLED presents several enhancements.
MicroLED displays are considerably more energy-efficient, promising extended battery life for devices like the Apple Watch Ultra. They also mitigate risks of screen burn-in, exhibit superior contrast, and faster response times due to individual pixel lighting.
Additionally, microLEDs offer brighter and better colors, making them a next-generation technology surpassing OLED and miniLED.