In a painstaking deconstruction, overseen by former Apple engineers, iFixit found the previously undisclosed “on-cell touch” touch-integrated OLED panel first introduced with the iPhone 13 this year.
iFixit says this is a role reversal on the usual order of things, with the Apple Watch usually debuting display technology before it makes it way to the iPhone, which naturally gets manufactured in greater numbers.
iFixit’s Jeff Suovanen writes: “…that’s a bit of an anomaly—historically, the lower-production-volume watch gets new display technology first (OLED, LTPO, always-on, variable refresh rate), while the massively popular iPhone might eventually pick those things up. This time it’s the other way around, even if only by a few weeks.”
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The teardown specialists speculate this may be one of the reasons Apple delayed the release of the Apple Watch Series 7 into the middle of this month.
It wasn’t a long delay, by any means, but iFixit reckons it may be due to production issues in building and assembling these new displays, which are also larger at 41mm and 45mm this time around.
“The inherent complexities in the supply chain combined with this radically new display design, I’m fairly certain this was the cause of the Apple Watch delays,” says Tobias-Harrison-Noonan of Instrumental in a video accompanying iFixit’s teardown.
Tobias was a former Apple engineer, who worked as the senior product designer on four generations of the Apple Watch. He was also a manager on the touch product design team, so he knows a thing or two.
Other things noted by the teardown artists include the presence of an ever so slightly larger battery in both models. Battery life doesn’t appear to have been improved beyond the 18 hours Apple has long promised.