MicroLED display industry: facing turbulence or new opportunities?

An article written by Sweta Dash, for Display Daily, in collaboration with Eric Virey from Yole Group

The MicroLED Display industry received shocking news at the end of February when ams OSRAM announced an unexpected cancellation of a cornerstone MicroLED project. The press release noted that they have to re-assess strategy particularly for the new 8-inch LED facility in Kulim (Malaysia), and a non-cash impairment charge of EUR 600 to 900 million is expected based on preliminary estimates. According to published industry information, ams OSRAM was the key MicroLED chip supplier for the Apple Watch Project. Apple’s brand power was extremely important for the new MicroLED display technology.

Apple’s decision to adopt OLED display panels for iPhone in 2017 and for IT starting from 2024 has resulted in enormous investments for OLED and created new opportunities for the technology in the market. For the Apple Watch project, Apple was planning to develop its own MicroLED display technology. The cancellation news, even though creating turbulence and uncertainties in the near term, may open up new opportunities for the MicroLED display industry in the long run.

Apple’s MicroLED Display Project

Apple’s interest in MicroLED started in 2014, when it acquired LuxVue. According to the article posted on March 1st, Yole Group’s Principal Analyst Display, Eric Virey stated that “At Yole Group, we estimate that at this point, Apple had spent more than $2.6B to develop MicroLED displays, to which one must add $420M for the acquisition of LuxVue in 2014. Apple’s partners, including LG, Osram, and Kulicke & Soffa, had already spent close to $1.3B to start ramping up manufacturing for the first MicroLED Apple watch in 2026”. Analysts at Yole Group believe that “Osram was on track with process development and qualifications, but Apple was still struggling with downstream manufacturing: mass transfer, an essential process to achieve cost-effective manufacturing, was still not ready”.

… Read the full article HERE.