We’ve heard about Apple smartwatch plans on and off throughout 2013. First we heard Apple was building a 100-person team to work on the device. Now, new rumors have a hint of urgency to them, and suggest that LG’s bendy screen tech is going to be critical to its design.
Earlier this year the Wall Street Journal–a newspaper Apple sometimes seems to use as a controllable “leak” valve–heard from sources that Apple is experimenting with a watch design, and that curved glass was likely to be involved. But there’s much more technology that would be needed to go inside a bracelet-like device, and LG’s recent innovations in flexible OLED displays seem to fit the idea of a wrist-surrounding screen. Interestingly the new rumors say that Taiwan’s RiTDisplay is actually Apple’s first choice, and that it’s about to award contracts to produce the screens to both RiT and LG. This sounds a project that’s getting some steam up.
But is the news plausible? It’s certainly more like Apple to approach a market like this with a lateral-approach design that could create a new product line. Current generation smartwatches, while neat in some cases and flawed in others–like Samsung’s Galaxy Gear–are more like low-powered phone companions and are an evolution of the “old” digital watch. A conformal Apple watch with a cylindrical-section touchscreen, which runs a version of iOS and makes use of the current vogue for bendable tech, could really stand out. Remember too that a smartwatch would be a natural home for Apple’s new low-power M7 motion-measuring chip, and that an ID-verifiying fingerprint sensor would go well there too.