It looks like the Apple Watch's next big innovation has been delayed big time, according to leaks

Apple Watch Ultra 2 review
(Image credit: Future / Matt Evans)

The Apple Watch Ultra 2 was a fairly modest upgrade on what was already the best Apple Watch in the lineup, but as ever, we're looking to what's next. Reports have consistently suggested that Apple is planning to roll out microLED displays to multiple product lines, including the iPad and Mac, but that it'd also come to the Apple Watch Ultra and replace the existing OLED panel.

We had originally expected the new displays to arrive on the Ultra lineup in 2025, as analysts such as Ross Young had predicted (thanks, MacRumors), but a new report from The Elec (via MacRumors) suggests the MicroLED Apple Watch is likely to be delayed due to issues with manufacturing costs and production yields. The report said it's likely to slip past 2026 into 2027, and even that date may be overly optimistic.

It also suggests that the microLED Ultra will move from a 1.93-inch screen to a 2.12-inch one, but the need for high pixel density is causing prices to skyrocket, with simulation yields costing $150 per display: around four times the cost of an OLED one.

Given the Ultra already costs $799, it seems Apple isn't comfortable seeing a significant price increase to allow for the microLED display. However, things can change, and this sudden mystery rumor flies in the face of all the messaging from leakers in the past.

Analysis: What is microLED?

Not to be confused with mini LED, which Apple already uses on the iPad Pro 12.9-inch, microLED displays offer better contrast and color reproduction. Experts are often quoted as saying images look as though they've been "painted" onto the screen.

A microLED panel would also use less energy, which is important with a device such as the Apple Watch which could do with lasting longer, but it also wouldn't hurt to have longer-lasting iPhone, iPad, and Mac battery life, either.

The OLED display on the Apple Watch Ultra 2 saw a brightness boost from the original's 2,000 nits to 3,000 nits, making it the best screen on an Apple Watch by far.

The Apple Watch Series 9 also saw an increase to 2,000 nits, showing Apple is looking to improve its displays across the board.

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Lloyd Coombes
Freelancer & Podcaster

Lloyd Coombes is a freelance tech and fitness writer for TechRadar. He's an expert in all things Apple as well as Computer and Gaming tech, with previous works published on TopTenReviews,, and Live Science. You'll find him regularly testing the latest MacBook or iPhone, but he spends most of his time writing about video games at Dexerto.