Rumor: Apple Watch has LG-made AMOLED screen

Apple Watch (Retina display 001)

Apple has rejected tiny panels made by rival Samsung’s display-making arm for its wrist-worn smartwatch and has instead opted in favor of curved AMOLED screens made by LG Display, claims a supply chain report filed Wednesday by DigiTimes, a somewhat accurate Taiwanese trade publication.

Citing unnamed sources at LG Display, the publication reports LG Display will supply AMOLED panels for the Apple Watch. “Apple will reportedly not purchase AMOLED panels from Samsung Display and instead will have LG as the sole panel provider for the Apple Watch”, the sources indicated.

Shipments are expected to reach about five million a month in 2015, the report notes. The figure indicates Apple must be shooting for an annualized sales in the ballpark of at least fifty million Apple Watches in 2015 versus the most optimistic estimate pegged at about 37 million units.

The Cupertino firm has previously said it expects the device to be released within the first quarter of 2015, starting at $349 for the entry-level model.

While not the most accurate of sources, DigiTimes knows its Asian supply chain inside out, including stuff like semiconductors, mobile screens and component procurement, so I won’t be shocked should this rumor prove true.

The Apple Watch is outfitted with a Retina display, suggesting a pixel density of about 300 pixels per inch.

While little is known as to the device’s screen resolution, Apple’s promotional video seen below reveals (mark 3:09) that the flexible screen is laminated to a machined and polished single crystal of sapphire, the second hardest transparent material after diamond.

AMOLED (active-matrix organic light-emitting diode) technology provides higher refresh rates than passive-matrix OLED screens while consuming significantly less power compared to the traditional LCD technology used on iPhones and iPads.

Apple’s been distancing itself from Samsung ever since the two technology giants have entangled themselves in a complex web of lawsuits spanning continents.

The break-up began a few years ago when the Cupertino firm started introducing new companies into its supply chain for iPad and iPhone screens. Fast-forward to present time and Apple is now thought to be relying on TSMC, a Taiwan-based semiconductor foundry, to produce the A8 processor for the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.

Moving its lucrative chip-making contract away from Samsung files as a major blow to its arch-enemy Samsung, which used to exclusively churn out mobile processors for iOS devices at its multi-billion dollar facility in Austin, Texas.