Gadgets

iWatch, anyone? Apple reportedly testing 1.5-inch OLED screens, ordering 1,000 prototypes

Above: An iWatch prototype

Image Credit: VeneStudio

What time is it — about five months before fall 2013? Then it must be time for testing the iWatch.

A month ago CEO Tim Cook disappointed Wall Street and crushed Apple fans by saying that Apple had amazing new products coming out “this fall and throughout 2014.” Which means that none were coming out this summer, and which also means that if some new products are coming out in fall, they need to be in testing now.

Cue iWatch testing rumors.

Taiwan’s Economic Times says that Apple is currently testing 1.5-inch OLED screens from Ritek’s RiTdisplay after first building prototypes with a 1.8-inch display, which Apple rejected as being too large for a wrist-based computing accessory. The OLED screens use OGS touch sensors (“one glass solution”), which will theoretically help Apple keep the iWatch thin and light.

iwatchBut Apple has presumably not ordered in volume, as Ritek recorded a first-quarter loss. Apple production partner Foxconn has also reportedly received a small-scale trial production order of 1,000 devices.

Testing the new, smaller size right now — and getting into preproduction — could help Apple get product ready for delivery to consumers in late summer or early fall.

But don’t hold your breath.

The iWatch has been rumored since late 2012, including in some almost-certainly-Apple-initiated NYT, Wall Street Journal, and Bloomberg leaks. According to at least one study, a full 20 percent of U.S. consumers want an Apple iWatch, sight unseen, and an Apple patent published in March of this year reveals that Apple is thinking about flexible wrap-around displays built into a transparent housing.

Oh, and perhaps one of the reasons for the rumors?

Samsung is supposed to be working on a smart watch, too. Perhaps Galaxy Watch? Meanwhile, Google’s entrant into the wearable computing sweepstakes is already being hacked on, developed for, and ogled.

Or would that be oogled?

Image credits: iWatch mockup by VeneStudio; Hat tip: C|Net

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