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Apple abandons Apple Watch Ultra 3 display development

After a few months of conflicting rumors, it looks pretty much certain that the Apple Watch Ultra 3 won’t get an in-house microLED display.

Custom image for news on the Apple Watch Ultra 3 display with three Ultra Watch 2 devices on a yellow background

Over many months, there have been various rumors regarding the possibility of an Apple Watch Ultra 3 display with microLEDs on the horizon. MicroLED displays are generally brighter, with far better color accuracy and individual pixel dimming, so the sort of thing that makes a display far nicer to look at. Sadly, however, it looks like Apple has canceled its in-house development of the tech.

As reported by Bloomberg (via Forbes), Apple has scrapped its plans to develop the displays for the wearable in the last few weeks, with Mark Gurman describing it as “another pricey research and development initiative.” While Apple can always get off-the-shelf microLEDs, it usually likes to keep as many developments in-house.

This cancelation might not just hurt the Apple Watch, however. All of Apple’s tech could benefit from microLEDs, with better displays allowing for thinner devices as they don’t need a shared backlight. According to Gurman, Apple “expected to eventually push microLEDs into all of its products, from Apple Watches to iPhones to Macs.” We didn’t expect it for iPhone 16, but maybe a couple of years down the line, it could have been the default on all of Apple’s devices.

All this comes a little while after the rumor that the Apple Watch 2024 update may be a little less exciting than expected. Given it’s the tenth iteration, we were also expecting an Apple Watch X release date to bring with it a brand new design, something the wearable really needs. Oh, and let’s not forget the recent Apple Watch ban, which forced the company to remove a key feature in the US.

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Whether we really notice the Apple Watch Ultra 3 lacking in some way thanks to this is unlikely – but we’ll have to wait until the end of summer to hear anything from the Cupertino company itself. For more, check out our guide to the best Apple Watch and our Apple Watch Series 9 review for our verdict on the company’s latest.