Wearables

The wearable market is one of the first key markets for microLED display developers. MicroLEDs will enable high quality displays, that would offer very high brightness and efficient, which will be very useful for smartwatch developers. The limited resolution (number of pixels) of wearable displays also make this market suitable for early microLED adoption.

AUO 1.39-inch 338 PPI MicroLED display, (Touch Taiwan 2021)

Several companies are developing microLED wearable displays, aiming to replace OLEDs in premium devices. The most advanced project seems to be AUO's - which already announced it has a commercial microLED wearable display towards the end of 2023. According to reports, the first company to adopt AUO's smartwatch microLED displays will be Tag Heuer in 2024.

Apple is reportedly also working towards adopting a microLED display in a future smartwatch device. The company originally hoped to launch the first such device in 2023, but the project has been delayed several times.

The latest wearable microLED news:

Tianma shows its latest MicroLEDs prototypes at Displayweek 2024

Tianma shows several MicroLEDs prototypes at Displayweek 2024, including automotive displays, transparent displays, and wearable ones.

The first display was an automotive, a transparent 8.07-inch octagon-shaped display aimed towards digital side mirror applications (to be placed inside the vehicle). The display offers a transparency of 55%, a resolution of 608x1204 (167 PPI) and a brightness of 1,500 nits.

Read the full story Posted: May 29,2024

AUO: MicroLEDs are already mature, we are leading the industry and already commenced mass production

During AUO's recent investor conference call, the company updated on its microLED project and made some interesting comments. First of all, AUO says that it has started to ship wearable microLED display panels at the end of 2024 (that's in line with AUO's previous announcement).

AUO 1.39-inch 338 PPI MicroLED display, (Touch Taiwan 2021)

As far as we know, AUO is working with a Swiss luxury watch producer (like Tag Hauer) that will announce its microLED smartwatch soon. AUO says that it expects to expand its wearable microLED production soon.

Read the full story Posted: May 04,2024

KLA withdraws out of the display inspection market, another casualty of Apple's microLED decision

Last month Apple decided to cancel its microLED Watch project, which had very bad consequences for many microLED developers. Ams-Osram is still considering its options and it estimates its loss at $650-900 million, while Singapore-based electronics assembly solutions provider Kulicke & Soffa announced that it was also effected, to the tune of $110-130 million as it cancelled its own project with Apple.

KLA Corporation recently announced that it is withdrawing from the FPD market altogether. The company entered this market when it bought Israeli Orbotech for $3.4 billion, developer of inspection equipment for the semiconductor and display industries. 

Read the full story Posted: Apr 16,2024

Samsung plans to release its first microLED wearable display in 2025, but this may get delayed

In early 2023, it was reported in Korea that Samsung Display started a new project to develop microLED wearable displays, aiming to finish the development by the end of 2023, and supply it to Tier-1 wearable makers such as Apple or Samsung Electronics.

Samsung Galaxy Watch4 photo

According to a new report, Samsung Electronic had indeed started developing a microLED powered Galaxy Watch device, aiming to release it in 2025. Following Apple's microLED wearble project cancellation, Samsung is also now debating whether to cancel or delay its own microLED smartwatch project.

Read the full story Posted: Mar 24,2024

Apple cancels its microLED wearable display project, how will this affect the microLED industry?

Apple started developing microLED displays for wearable devices years ago, first aiming to launch the first product in 2023. The project was delayed several times, as the cost of production for microLED displays was too high for Apple, to the point where it was suggested Apple's goal is to launch the first microLED watch in 2027.

Apple Watch

One of Apple's main microLED partners is ams-Osram, that is building a $850 Million 8-inch microLED epiwafer factory in Malaysia. Yesterday ams-Osram announced that its "cornerstone project" (it did not name Apple specifically) got unexpectedly cancelled. This triggered ams-Osram to re-assess its microLED strategy. As a first estimate ams-Osram believes it will have impairment charges of $650-$900 million and it will also likely to cancel or delay some of its investments in Malaysia (which may actually improve the company's cashflow in the next two years).

Read the full story Posted: Mar 01,2024

A spotlight on VueReal: a MicroLED Industry Association member

We're happy to interview Reza Chaji, CEO and founder at VueReal, as part of our series of interviews with MicroLED Industry Association members. Canada-based VueReal developed a unique microLED display production process (which it refers to as a MicroSolid Printing Platform) and the company now offers a turnkey platform that enables its partners and customers to develop a custom display and fabricate it at VueReal's own pilot production line. 

Hello Reza, can you introduce your company and technology?

From the outset, we recognized that microLED solutions should address the formidable challenges of developing smartphone microLED displays to pave the way beyond niche markets. Consequently, our focus has been on developing scalable and cost-competitive technologies tailored for high-volume applications. This strategic approach positions us effectively to address the smartphone sector soon and opens doors to other markets.

VueReal's fundamental technological innovation lies in our transfer solution with unique printing attributes, microSolid Printing. This groundbreaking solution boasts distinct advantages over lasers and pick-and-place methods.

Read the full story Posted: Feb 08,2024

Reports from Korea suggest that Apple may further delay its first microLED watch to 2027

Apple started developing microLED displays for wearable devices years ago, first aiming to launch the first product in 2023. The project was delayed several times, as the cost of production for microLED displays is still too high for Apple.

Last year TrendForce estimated that Apple will not be able to introduce its first microLED watch until 2026 - and now we hear some new reports that suggest that this won't happen until 2027 at the earliest. 

Read the full story Posted: Feb 07,2024

Tianma developed a 1.63" microLED wearable display

During the company's latest innovation conference, Tianma unveiled that it developed a small 1.63" 403 PPI microLED display, that targets wearables and small mobile terminals.

The company did not disclose more information on this new display, and did not say how close it is to commercialize it.

Read the full story Posted: Nov 30,2023

DSCC: the microLED display market to reach $1.4 billion by 2028, led by TV, wearables, automotive and AR displays

DSCC estimates that the microLED display market will reach $1.4 billion by 2028, led by TVs and wearables. Other applications will include AR glasses and automotive displays (these do not appear in the graph below).

DSCC believes that MicroLED displays will offer superior performance, but its high price will keep it from being a mainstream technology in the near future. The first microLED smartwatch will launch in 2024, but it will target the high-end of the market and volumes will remain low. 

Read the full story Posted: Nov 21,2023

Yole sees significant microLED production in 2-3 years, with broader adoption in 5-10 years

Yole Intelligence has published its latest microLED market report, in which it sees commercial microLED production starting in 2-3 years, following several delays. In 5-10 years, adoption will increase.

In its base scenario, Yole sees microLED panel sales reaching $1.5 billion in 2029 and $2.2 billion in 2030, with almost 90% coming from wearables and AR/VR/MR microdisplays. The rest of the panels will be used in TV applications. If you want to hear more about Yole's microLED market insights, you are welcome to join the MicroLED-Connect online event later this month.

Read the full story Posted: Nov 16,2023