Apple To Cut Jobs After Scrapping In-House Apple Watch Display Project

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Apple Inc. has decided to discard its smartwatch display project that it had been working on for a long time. This decision puts an end to a costly development initiative.

According to reports, the company recently, stopped its in-house development of display screens using microLED technology, which was supposed to have brighter visuals. They were planned to be used in a future version of the Apple Watch and potentially other products as well.

Apple To Cut Jobs

However, the project turned out to be too complicated and expensive, and because of this, Apple is now restructuring its display engineering teams and eliminating several dozen positions in both Asia and the United States. These details were shared by individuals who preferred to remain anonymous because the matter is confidential.

The company is also providing affected employees with opportunities to transition to other roles within the organization, with severance and layoff packages being considered for those unable to secure new positions. For now, Apple has declined to comment on these developments.

The decision to shutter the project coincides with Apple’s recent abandonment of its self-driving car initiative. In both cases, affected employees are being offered alternative roles within the company before potential layoffs.

The display project was part of Apple’s broader strategy to increase its in-house design capabilities. While Apple currently customizes its displays, the underlying technology is largely sourced from external partners such as Samsung SDI Co and LG Display Co. By bringing display development in-house, Apple aimed to gain a competitive advantage in the market.

MicroLED technology was particularly enticing to Apple due to its color accuracy, energy efficiency, and potential for creating thinner devices. The project codenamed T159, was initially launched within Apple’s hardware engineering division approximately seven years ago. However, it was later transferred to the head of Apple’s display group Wei Chen, and then to the hardware technologies division. 

Apple even established its screen manufacturing facility in Santa Clara, California, to facilitate the production of microLED screens. However, many of the job cuts are expected to affect employees at this facility and Apple’s display engineering centers in Asia.

Despite the setback, Apple remains interested in microLED technology for future projects. The company is exploring alternative processes and suppliers that could integrate microLED displays into its devices. But it is not expected to materialize in the near term. For the time being, Apple is maintaining its focus on OLED technology for its smartwatch displays.

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Margaret Rouse
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