Rumor: LG nears OLED iWatch deal, Google smartwatch due ‘within months’

iWatch packaging concept

LG Display, a prominent Apple supplier that provides LCD panels for the iPad, MacBook and iMac devices, is apparently close to striking a deal to supply a portion of flexible OLED screens for Apple’s rumored iWatch wearable device. Furthermore, Apple is understood to have discussed the possibility of a similar deal with its biggest supplier Samsung, but talks apparently fell apart.

In addition to LG Display, the rumor also mentions Taiwan’s RiTDisplay as another possible iWatch screen supplier…

Credited to anonymous sources and “an expert,” the story was first published by The Korea Herald on Tuesday.

LG Display is expected to sign a contract with Apple to supply flexible OLED panels for the iWatch., the story has it. According to HMC Investment Securities analyst Kim Young-woo, both Taiwan’s RiTdisplay and LG Display are expected to be the primary and secondary suppliers, respectively.

Japan Display is said to be another candidate, but appears to lack the production capacity, Kim added. Samsung Display for the time being dis left out of the loop. For the sake of story completeness, Samsung recently snapped up OLED maker Novaled for the reported $345 million.


Finally, the store claims Apple wanted to start iWatch manufacture last month, but delayed plans due to the overheating problem. A May report by another Taiwanese outlet asserted Apple had been sampling power efficient 1.5-inch screens for the iWatch from multiple suppliers.

The Korea Herald does not have an established track record in Apple rumor reporting so approach this one with caution. What we do know is that Apple may be looking to enter a new product category in 2014. Also, they did not hire an OLED display expert just for the heck of it.

Bloomberg claims Apple has 100+ engineers working on a wristwatch device that will ostensibly run iOS and include additional biometric integration.

For what it’s worth, a new report from the Wall Street Journal that Google’s Android-powered smartwatch with Google Now functionality is getting closer to becoming a reality. The search Goliath “has been working to reduce power consumption on the smartwatch so it won’t require frequent battery charges,” the WSJ story has it.

The Google gadget should be due “within months” as it’s in late-stage development and Google is reportedly in talks with Asian suppliers to begin mass production of the device.

Qikoo (image 001)
The 360 Children Guard wristband for kids from Qikoo.

In the meantime, Samsung continues to advertise (see the clip above) its $299 Galaxy Gear smartwatch like there’s no tomorrow, although initial reviews are mostly discouraging. That’s not stopping industry players from doubling down on smartwatches.

Qikoo (image 002)

In addition to industry heavyweights and Silicon Valley giants, Asian vendors are readying their own wearable devices, such as China’s Qihoo which today released the 360 Children Guard wristband, pictured above.

The wearable gizmo is designed specifically for kids and taps an iOS and Android software to provide such features as child safety, positioning, safety precaution and one-way telephone communication.