DSCC: LGD to build a microLED backplane production line for Apple, will be ready by the end of 2024

Apple's involvement in the microLED display market is not a secret, and rumors over the years suggested that the company's first microLED display will be adopted in a smartwatch project.A couple of weeks ago we heard estimates that Apple is working to produce a 2.1" microLED display, to be adopted in the next Watch Ultra device, due in late 2023 or (more likely in 2024).

Apple Watch Series 8 photo

DSCC's Ross Young gives an update today, saying that according to his information, LG Display is building a small production line that will make microLED backplanes for Apple. The line will begin operation in the second half of 2024, which means that the watch device itself will be released in 2025. This timeline makes more sense than an early launch in 2023.

As Ross points out, working with LGD means that Apple won't do the full process in house - but it will handle at least some of the process (microLED transfer, most likely). It's likely too early to tell, anyway.

It may come as a surprise to some that Apple is opting to work with LGD, but remember that LGD is the company that produces most of Apple's current AMOLED wearable displays, and in this case it is only required to produce the backplane and not the frontplane of the display.

The current (Gen-1) Watch Ultra has an advanced 1.92" (49 mm) 2000 nits 502 x 410 pixels LTPO AMOLED display.

Posted: Jan 15,2023 by Ron Mertens