Supply chain rumors say brighter Apple Watch, pink iPhone 6S with Force Touch camera en route

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Two new reports out of Asia this morning purport to shed light on improvements coming to Apple’s next-generation Apple Watch and the iPhone 6S.

According to a report out of Korea (via Naver/Digital Daily), Apple has decided to source flexible OLED screens for the Apple Watch 2 from both Samsung and LG, prioritizing improved outdoor visibility rather than changing the screen size, shape, or resolution. Outdoor screen visibility is a particular issue for the more reflective, sapphire-faced Apple Watch and Edition, which noticeably reduce the underlying screen’s apparent brightness compared with the glass-faced Apple Watch Sport. The report also claims Apple is more concerned about thinning components than reducing weight, in order to make room for a larger battery.

A second and more questionable report out of Taiwan, allegedly posted to microblogging site Weibo by a Foxconn employee before being pulled and recirculated by PhoneArena, claims to offer a series of additional details regarding the upcoming iPhone 6S. As detailed below, a new pink color, higher-resolution cameras with Force Touch simultaneous video/photo modes, and a faster Touch ID fingerprint scanner are all said to be on tap…

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Analysis explains why sapphire Apple Watch and Edition lag behind glass Sport display outdoors

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Apple Watch Sport’s Ion-X Glass display (left) vs Apple Watch w/ Sapphire display (right)

DisplayMate is out with a new report today, this time applying its usual detailed analysis to the different displays that come with the various models of Apple Watch. In case you didn’t know already, Apple is using a sapphire display on its pricier, mid-range collection of Apple Watch, as well as with the higher-end Apple Watch Edition. That’s opposed to the Ion-X glass display on the less expensive, entry-level Apple Watch Sport models. But the report shows a detailed analysis of what many users have already noticed: despite sapphire being more scratch resistant, in many cases the cheaper glass display performs better in terms of screen reflectance and visibility in outdoor lighting: Read more

New Apple Store front display for Apple Watch, new gold model details revealed

Apple Store Render

Apple will begin dressing up the front of its stores with a new Apple Watch-themed promotion on April 10th to coincide with the beginning of in-store Apple Watch try-on appointments. The new, unique display will be shown at all Apple Stores with glass front windows and it is themed akin to the application icon arrays on the Apple Watch’s Home screen. According to the source who provided the above rendering, each circle is packed with Mac mini-powered LED lights that will show off different colors, patterns, and effects throughout the day. The new front of store visuals will continue to stay live after the Apple Watch launches on April 24th as Apple can simply remove the “Coming Soon” label shown on the above render…

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Apple hires Dolby’s technology chief to bolster audio and display technologies

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Continuing its high-level executive hiring spree, Apple has recruited Dolby Executive Vice President Mike Rockwell to become an executive in its hardware division, 9to5Mac has learned. According to a source, Rockwell has likely been hired to bolster the audio and display performance of future Apple products, which could include anything from next-generation Apple monitors to professional audio/video editing tools to speakers. Rockwell’s LinkedIn profile confirms he joined Apple in February but does not specify his role.

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Screenshots of what running apps on a taller iPhone screen may look like

Earlier this week, we broke the news that Apple’s upcoming iOS 6 software for the iPhone is fully aware and capable of running on taller iPhone displays. It just so happens that the latest iOS 6 builds are optimized to express a tweaked, properly displayed new interface when running at a resolution of 640 x 1136. This happens to be the exact resolution that our sources reported Apple is testing for upcoming iOS devices.

iOS specialist Sonny Dickson decided to create some screenshots of what running native applications may be like on the next-generation iPhone – if Apple chooses to roll with the taller, 640 x 1136 screen. Dickson installed some applications into the tweaked iPhone simulator, and the results are interesting. Apps that are already included and optimized for the iOS 6 simulator appear to have tweaked interfaces that fit the taller display. Several more screenshots and all the details are after the break:

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Rumor: LG and Samsung to supply iPad 3 displays as Sharp fails to meet Apple’s approval process

Following reports this morning from Macotakara that claimed Sharp would be supplying display panels for a next-generation iPad, a conflicting report from Korean publication Electronic Times Internet News (via PatentlyApple) claimed Sharp “failed to pass Apple’s approval process for mass production.” The report also claimed Samsung and LG already kicked production for iPad 3 panels into full capacity as of the beginning of this year:

It has been confirmed that Samsung Electronics and LG Display will supply LCD panels for Apple’s iPad 3, which is scheduled to be unveiled as early as in Q1 this year. Sharp was originally known to be developing display panels, but reportedly failed in initial supply.

According to the report, Apple is planning on placing orders for 65 million LCD panels for iPad 3 during 2012. It also claimed Samsung and LG would be supplying 5 million displays in the first quarter to meet demand for the device’s launch. Although there is obviously no way to verify this, and the publication does not exactly have a track record for breaking Apple news, the report does mention the same XQGA (2048×1536) display as Macotakara’s. The report cited only an “industry source.”
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Apple turns to Samsung amid iPad 2 display issues with LG

Digitimes is reporting Apple has turned to manufacturers other than LG Display (specifically Samsung and Chimei Innolux) due to issues with the 9.7-inch panel they’ve been producing for the iPad 2. Apparently LGD was not only unable to meet its July orders by approximately 1 million units, but also failed to meet Apple’s requirements in impact tests.

Due to the manufacturing issues with LGD, Digitimes reports they have now turned to alternate supplier (and rivals in the tablet market) Samsung. However, this may be only a temporary solution to the supply problems, as the report is quick to point out Samsung is directly competing with the iPad 2 with their Galaxy Tab 10.1 (the same device Apple just received a preliminary injunction for to halt sales in the EU).

According to the report:

“Samsung’s Galaxy Tab has head-on competition with the Apple iPad 2 in the end market. This would prevent Apple from sourcing more panels from Samsung.”

This might be an indication that Apple is focused on transitioning away from Android-related manufactures, if for no other reason, simply to avoid having to rely on their competition to supply vital components. Doesn’t look like LG’s  $500 million display deal with Apple will be getting extended anytime soon, and a recent lawsuit launched against Apple (linked back to LG) certainly doesn’t help either.
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