Feeds

The iWatch is coming! The iWatch is coming!

Reports: Apple's wrister to have 1.5-inch OLED, test units being built

Boost IT visibility and business value

The Apple iWatch rumor mill has rumbled to life yet again, with one report that Apple is sampling 1.5-inch OLED displays for the li'l fellow, and a second that long-time iKit assembler Foxconn has received orders for a test batch of the "wearable computing" device.

On Monday, MacRumors spotted an article in the Japanese Apple-news site Macotakara that reported (Google translation) on two tidbits published by Taiwan's Economic Times discussing the long-rumored iWatch – and, yes, that convoluted trail is indeed how rumors are often disseminated.

The first report (Google translation) in the Economic Times said that Apple is sampling 1.5-inch OLED displays from Ritek spinoff RiTdisplay. Since OLED displays don't require backlighting, they'd be ideal for a compact a bit of shiny-shiny like a wrist-mounted iDevice.

Apple CEO Tim Cook, however, pointedly dismissed OLED technology – for use in smartphones, at least – during a presentation at a Goldman Sacks investors confab this February. In a dig at Samsung, Cook said that their OLED smartphones had color saturation that was "awful."

Maybe an iWatch user won't care about color quality as much as they might about size, weight, and battery life.

Interestingly, the Economic Times report also said that Apple had originally been looking into a 1.8-inch OLED display, but had rejected that one as being too large. The same report noted that Intel's Beijing outpost was involved in the design of what Google charmingly translates in the Economic Times article as a "wisdom watch" (智慧手表), an involvement that surfaced in report from the Chinese site TGBus last December.

Might Intel's new Silvermont Atom microarchitecture have found a lucrative design win? That seems unlikely – that is, if Apple wants to get the iWatch out in time for this year's holiday buying frenzy. But, hey, stranger things have happened.

The second Economic Times report (Google translation) says that the smart watch may be "the killer app of the next generation," and discusses "market rumors" (市場傳聞) which say that Foxconn has already received orders for a small manufacturing run of around a thousand iWatches, presumably for testing both manufacturing techniques and the devices themselves.

That report jibes with a rumor that floated around this February, when The Wall Street Journal reported that Apple and Foxconn were discussing a manufacturing partnership for what the WSJ described as "a watch-like device that would perform some functions of a smartphone."

That would be the iWatch, all right – the elusive device that has been mentioned as a possible Next Big Thing as far back as 2000, when a rumor surfaced that Apple was looking into a wristwatch powered by a Transmeta processor and that ran MacOS.

iWatch rumors were revved up this February when the US Patent and Trademark Office published a slap-to-wear iWatch patent application. They then spun down a bit when it was revealed that the flexy Willow glass from Corning needed for that design was said to be at least three years in the future.

The indefatigable rumor mill, however, cranked up again this March when LG Display CEO Han Sang-beom claimed his company would be able to produce flexy OLED displays by the second half of this year.

Monday's pair of Economic Times reports, however, make no mention of the slap-on-your-wrist capability envisioned by the February patent application. Perhaps Apple design guru Jony Ive and his 100-member iWatch team will be starting out with a simpler design – one with a 1.5-inch OLED display, and manufactured by Foxconn. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Apple takes blade to 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display
Shaves price, not screen on mid-2014 model
Top Gun display for your CAR: Heads-up fighter pilot tech
Sadly Navdy kit doesn't include Sidewinder missile to blast traffic
iPhone 6 flip tip slips in Aussie's clip: Apple's 'reversible USB' leaks
New plug not compatible with official Type-C, according to fresh rumors
FEAST YOUR EYES: Samsung's Galaxy Alpha has an 'entirely new appearance'
Wow, it looks like nothing else on the market, for sure
YES YES YES! Apple patents mousy, pressure-sensing iVibrator
Fanbois prepare to experience the great Cupertin-O
Steve Jobs had BETTER BALLS than Atari, says Apple mouse designer
Xerox? Pff, not even in the same league as His Jobsiness
TV transport tech, part 1: From server to sofa at the touch of a button
You won't believe how much goes into today's telly tech
Things are looking up in Flappy Bird sequel
'Swing Copters' offers the same gameplay but in a different direction
NVIDIA claims first 64-bit ARMv8 SoC for Androids
Mile-High 'Denver' Tegra K1 successor said to rival PC performance
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.