(Pocket-lint) - Apple is looking to use 1.5-inch OLED panels for its iWatch, as trials and testing ramps up, according to Taiwanese newspaper Economic Times. The new report gels well with what we've heard before in terms of the screen, more than likely also boasting a touchscreen front, much like the sixth-generation iPod nano.
Furthermore, Economic Times is reporting that Apple is furthering its testing by shipping 1,000 trial units to manufacturer Foxconn. The trial is most likely so Foxconn can get its bearings in terms of actually manufacturing the device, if it does in fact come to market.
The Apple iWatch has been rumoured for quite sometime, with reports pointing to a launch by the end of the year. Late last year, Chinese website TGBus, reported sources within the supply chain saying the device was already in an advanced stage and that its launch was expected in the first half of 2013 (that's now not looking likely). Furthermore, Intel has reportedly been working with Apple on the Bluetooth aspect of the watch to hook up to an iPhone or iPad and feature a 1.5-inch OLED RiTdisplay screen. Bloomberg said in March it would have the ability to receive incoming calls, view maps and record health data - launching sometime this autumn.
If Apple did actually bring the watch to market, it would be opening up a category relatively untapped by companies. However, Apple wouldn't be alone with a smart watch launch, as Google, Samsung, LG, Sony and others are said to be entering the market in the near future.
Apple competitor Samsung has already confirmed its smart watch plans in depth in March. "We’ve been preparing the watch product for so long,” said Lee Young Hee, executive vice-president of Samsung’s mobile business. "We are working very hard to get ready for it. We are preparing products for the future, and the watch is definitely one of them." Presumably, Apple would want to beat Samsung to market.
OLED displays are relatively untouched by Apple, as it likes LCD IPS displays instead. The OLED display may make sense on a watch, considering it doesn't require a backlight. Furthermore, Apple recently hired an OLED expert from LG.
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