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It looks like Apple’s iWatch may come with a painful compromise

Published Aug 27th, 2014 2:35PM EDT
iWatch Battery Life
Image: Martin Hajek

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Despite the fact that the iWatch represents Apple’s first dive into an “exciting new product category” since it unleashed the original iPad back in 2010, the new device isn’t Apple’s most hotly anticipated launch this fall. In fact, it likely falls into the No. 3 spot behind the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 and the 5.5-inch iPhone phablet. Consumers and investors alike are still waiting anxiously to see Apple’s take on wrist-worn wearables, but a new report suggests that the company may have been forced to forgo its typical no-compromise approach to mobile devices, and the result could be a big letdown for users.

DisplaySearch analyst Charles Annis issued a note recently that explores some key issues surrounding Apple’s upcoming debut smartwatch. Considering the firm’s focus — displays — the bulk of his note concerns a pair of AMOLED displays currently being manufactured by Apple supplier LG Display, which is widely rumored to be building screens for Apple’s first smartwatch.

“Since Apple has not provided any information on when exactly (or even if at all) the product will launch, what it will look like and what features it will offer all remain in the realm of speculation. But Apple’s display manufacturing partner LG Display is believed to be ramping up production of 1.3” and 1.5” QVGA AMOLEDs on plastic substrates,” Annis wrote. “If these are for the iWatch, it could be an indication that Apple has prioritized image quality over battery life. Another benefit of AMOLED on plastic is that it can be extremely thin, light and rugged.”

There are plenty of benefits to AMOLED technology, of course, but Annis’s suggestion here is a bit troubling. A common complaint surrounding current smartwatches is their poor battery life, and this note suggests battery life might not be a top priority for Apple.

Precious little is really known about the iWatch for the time being, but the device is expected to be unveiled alongside the iPhone 6 next month.

Zach Epstein
Zach Epstein Executive Editor

Zach Epstein has been the Executive Editor at BGR for more than 10 years. He manages BGR’s editorial team and ensures that best practices are adhered to. He also oversees the Ecommerce team and directs the daily flow of all content. Zach first joined BGR in 2007 as a Staff Writer covering business, technology, and entertainment.

His work has been quoted by countless top news organizations, and he was recently named one of the world's top 10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes. Prior to BGR, Zach worked as an executive in marketing and business development with two private telcos.