Apple Watch
Apple Watch features new display innovation, but does it have OLED?

19 Sep 2014 | Rasmus Larsen |

Along with the new iPhone 6 models, Apple also announced its entry into the watch market with Apple Watch. The display technology was not revealed, but it could be Apple’s first product with an OLED display. Apple Watch also features another important new display innovation, and can control Apple TV and Airplay.

The first Apple product with OLED?

Apple Watch was unveiled at the iPhone 6 launch event, but it will not ship until early 2015. During the presentation, Apple omitted several technical details, including battery life and the display technology.

Before Apple Watch was unveiled rumors swirled about it using an OLED display; the exciting new technology, which is also making its way into TVs and phones. OLED is an amazing display technology, but has suffered from several drawbacks in its early years. It has also been very hard to mass produce. But all that is about to change.

Apple Watch

So, is Apple Watch the first Apple product with OLED? Based on some of the hands-on videos from the presentation it certainly looks that way. The black background on the watch face appears inky black, which is one of the characteristics of OLED. It is almost impossible to do with a LCD screen. OLED also has the potential to be very power efficient, especially when reproducing black - the pixels are turned off in this state.

We cannot conclude anything before we receive confirmation from Apple, but it is worth noting that Apple called it "a flexible Retina display" at the presentation. LCD panels are not flexible.

Another key display innovation

But perhaps there is an even more important display innovation in the touch screen on Apple Watch. It could be the next phase of multi-touch technology that Apple introduced with the original iPhone.

Apple Watch can tell the difference between a light tap and a harder press on its screen.

Apple Watch

Just think of the possibilities. Today, we usually hold our fingertip on the screen for a few moments to bring up more options. But when a screen can tell the difference between a tap and a harder press you can enable entirely new things in the user interface.

Apple gave a few examples, but it is not clear exactly what you can do on Apple Watch. However, it is easy to imagine how it can benefit existing products such as the iPhone or iPad, for example by letting you write a letter in caps by pressing harder on the touch keyboard - or how game developers can use it. The new touch technology is headed for Apple Watch first, but the potential on larger screens is huge.

Can control Apple TV and Airplay

Apple Watch can control your Apple TV, and during the presentation we also spotted a small Airplay icon, which probably allows you to push music to your various speakers throughout the home.

Apple Watch

Details are few right now, but it looks like the same user interface as found in the Remote app for iPhone and iPad. Whether Apple has added more options - for example Siri voice search - is currently unclear.

Apple Watch will be available in early 2015, starting at $349 dollars. It is also Apple’s first product with a "computer on a chip” (S1), Apple Pay, comprehensive fitness and health tracking and much more.

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