Apple doesn’t like OLED displays. Across the board, Apple uses LCD IPS displays in its devices, which have better color accuracy than OLED. Theoretically, though, OLED is better than LCD when it comes to power consumption, though… which is why a new report is floating the possibility that Apple might switch to OLED for the iWatch… and that Foxconn is already building test runs.
A couple of reports from the Digitimes-like Economic Daily News out of Taiwan claim that Apple is testing 1.5-inch OLED panels for the iWatch.
These OLED touchscreens were manufactured by RiTdisplay of Taiwan using glass with touch sensors already baked in, instead of a separate multitouch layer. This would help the iWatch remain thin while maximizing internal space for battery.
In a separate report, the Economic Daily News claims that Foxconn has actually already received orders for the iWatch. These orders, however, aren’t for mass manufacture: instead, they are limited “small-scale trial production” runs of no more than a thousand units. In other words, Apple and Foxconn are testing how easy it will be to mass produce iWatches, but aren’t getting them ready for retail just yet.
These rumors are interesting if true. Powering the display on a smart watch is tricky, which is why smart watches like the Pebble use e-ink displays. Apple would never use e-ink because they simply don’t look as good, which makes OLED the second most likely display technology for Apple to use: there are already Android smartwatches on the market that successfully use OLED multi-touch displays.
It’s also worth noting that Apple hired a Senior OLED expert from LG Display earlier this year. That would certainly seem to indicate they are taking the possibilities of OLED seriously.