The next iteration of the Apple Watch Ultra could be delayed again. The suggestion comes from a report from Korean media outlet The Elec, citing “multiple industry officials”, which indicated ongoing issues with the new microLED display for the smartwatch were causing the hold-up.
Last year, research company TrendForce had predicted Q1 2026 as a potential launch date, with other sources suggesting it could arrive as early as 2024. Now, it looks like we could be waiting until 2027. Apple has yet to officially announce a launch date for this new Watch Ultra, which is unsurprising given the reported ongoing issues with mass production. Both higher defect rates and the greater cost of producing the panel are likely factors; a single microLED Apple smartwatch panel is estimated to cost $150 to make, a significant increase on the approximate $38 production cost for the Apple Watch Ultra 2’s OLED display. This is also more expensive than the iPhone 15 Pro Max’s 6.7-inch LTPO OLED panel, which costs around $120.
The advantage of microLED over OLED is a combination of high efficiency, increased brightness, improved durability and more vivid colors. Not only will the panel technology be upgraded for the new model, but it is also expected to be larger at 2.12 inches, compared to the current 1.93-inch screen. Due to the advantages of the panel, Apple will likely replace all OLED displays across the iPhone, iPad, its laptops and the Vision Pro with microLED equivalents.
Jessica Irvine is a tech enthusiast specializing in gadgets. From smart home devices to cutting-edge electronics, Jessica explores the world of consumer tech, offering readers comprehensive reviews, hands-on experiences, and expert insights into the coolest and most innovative gadgets on the market.