Apple is reportedly prepping to switch from flexible OLED screens utilized on the current Apple Watch to a more power-efficient micro-LED display technology that could be used for an Apple Watch hardware update in 2017, DigiTimes reported Friday. The Taiwanese trade publication said Apple could replace OLED displays in the Apple Watch with micro-LED panels as early as the second half of 2017.
Citing Taiwan-based supply chain makers, DigiTimes said Apple set up a research facility in northern Taiwan in April 2015 to research new display tech. In May 2014, the Cupertino firm bought US-based micro-LED developer LuxVue Technology.
That company is thought to have achieved a technical breakthrough in displays in terms of energy consumption as micro-LEDs waste far less battery power compared to other commercially viable display technologies.
Micro-LEDs range in size from one micron to one hundred microns and cost more to mass-produce than OLED panels, which themselves are more costly than the LCD displays Apple currently uses in its mobile gadgets. Apple is also expected to switch to OLED technology for a tenth anniversary iPhone in 2017.