It's OK to buy the Apple Watch Ultra 2: the microLED model isn't happening

The rumours appear to be true: Apple's cancelled its microLED deals and production plans for the forseeable future

Apple Watch Ultra 2
(Image credit: Apple)

If you've been hankering after the Apple Watch Ultra 2 but wanted to wait for the long-rumoured microLED model, you don't need to wait any longer: Apple appears to have cancelled its plans to use the next generation of display tech in its wearables for the foreseeable future. That means the Apple Watch X, which is expected to be the next generation of Apple Watch, will have an OLED display.

The microLED Apple Watch has been the subject of leaks and rumours for what feels like an eternity. It was originally rumoured to be a 2024 product, but the leaks have moved that back several times now and the most recent prediction was a 2025 release. However there have since been reports strongly suggesting that the project was dead in the water, and a new report from Bloomberg's Mark Gurman confirms that the microLED Apple Watch Ultra is no longer in development.

What happened to the microLED Apple Watch Ultra?

According to Gurman, despite investing huge sums of money in microLED tech Apple is still encountering the same two problems with the technology: it's very complicated, and it's very expensive.

In the last few months multiple reports have indicated that the wheels were falling off the microLED Apple Watch wagon. First of all ams OSRAM announced that a hugely important "cornerstone" microLED project had been cancelled by the client; then rumours began to circulate that another display firm, Kulicke & Soffa, was no longer working with Apple. 

Research firm DSCC reported in March that the microLED watch was cancelled, and analyst Ming-Chi Kuo also said earlier this month that the project was no more. Kuo said it was a "major setback" and that Apple now has no microLED plans for the forseeable future. However, trade titles DigiTimes and ETNews both reported that Apple had another microLED supplier lined up; it now seems that they were misinformed or the deal fell through.

For Apple, microLED isn't dead; it's just not able to do what Apple wants it to do for the price Apple wants to pay. For the time being that means the Apple Watch Ultra 2 is the state of the Apple Watch art, and likely to remain the best Apple Watch for power users for some time to come. 

Carrie Marshall

Writer, musician and broadcaster Carrie Marshall has been covering technology since 1998 and is particularly interested in how tech can help us live our best lives. Her CV is a who’s who of magazines, newspapers, websites and radio programmes ranging from T3, Techradar and MacFormat to the BBC, Sunday Post and People’s Friend. Carrie has written more than a dozen books, ghost-wrote two more and co-wrote seven more books and a Radio 2 documentary series; her memoir, Carrie Kills A Man, was shortlisted for the British Book Awards. When she’s not scribbling, Carrie is the singer in Glaswegian rock band Unquiet Mind (unquietmindmusic).