New Touchscreen for 'Apple Watch Series 3' Said to Enter Production Later This Year

The tentatively named "Apple Watch Series 3" will feature a new glass-film touchscreen in place of the current touch-on-lens solution, with shipments to begin in the second half of this year, according to Taiwan-based DigiTimes.

While it remains unclear if the switch to a film-based solution will have any obvious consumer-facing benefits, this is more interestingly the first rumor to surface about the supply chain ramping up for the next Apple Watch.

The timeline matches a Chinese report last month that claimed the third-generation Apple Watch will be unveiled in the third quarter of 2017 with battery life and performance improvements. The report said Series 3 models, to be manufactured by Quanta, will lack any significant hardware changes.

Few other details are known about the next Apple Watch models, which could feasibly launch alongside the "iPhone 8" in September.

KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo and other sources have claimed the Apple Watch could gain an LTE chip for cellular capabilities as early as 2017, while a supply chain report last year said Apple may switch from OLED to micro-LED displays for the Apple Watch in the second half of 2017 at the earliest.

Micro-LED displays have benefits such as thinness, lightness, improved color gamut, increased brightness, and higher resolutions. The panels do not require backlighting like traditional LCD displays, but they can be difficult and expensive to mass produce. Micro LEDs range in size from 1-micron to 100-micron.

Apple has filed patents for a number of ideas that could eventually be included in an Apple Watch, such as a heart rate identification system, modular bands, haptic feedback band, and a band with a built-in charger. More significant health and fitness features could be added pending further FDA approvals.

Ahead of Apple Watch Series 3 models, Apple is expected to introduce new bands at its rumored iPad Pro-focused event next month.

Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 6
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Neutral)

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
41 months ago

Those in my life that have them wear them because they think it's fashionable and makes them look cutting edge.

I'm the only person I know who wears one and I'm neither fashionable or look cutting edge. :D
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
41 months ago

I just purchased my Series 2 couple weeks ago. Lame!!!!

If only there was some site where you could find out when new Apple products were coming out. Like somewhere that kept a sort of "Buyers Guide". How great would that be? :-)
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
41 months ago

For most people, an Apple watch is almost useless. I don't need yet another screen alerting me about text messages and emails. Those in my life that have them wear them because they think it's fashionable and makes them look cutting edge.

That being said, if Apple ever adds a camera for video calls I'll buy simply because video watches have been featured in so many old time sci-fi shows and movies.

The way I look at it, it's not "yet another" screen alerting you, but more of a replacement screen, as sounds and vibrations are disabled on your phone when you're wearing the watch. The benefit of this is subtle yet drastic if you're anything like me (i.e. somewhat easily distracted) - any notification on your phone is a potential time drain as checking it can so easily lead to a few minutes' scroll through facebook or a news app etc, often before you've even realised you're doing it.

Getting notifications on your wrist, on the other hand, adds a bit of distance from your time sink apps that means when I get a text or some other alert, if I'm not responding to it immediately my wrist goes down and I'm back to what I was doing. Furthermore, a tap on the wrist and a small flick to check it is much less disruptive to concentration than a buzz in your pocket that leads to pulling your phone out for a look-see (as you never know which buzz is going to be important).

Of course this might all be irrelevant if you're an Adept of Attention but I've definitely noticed a severe drop in phone-related procrastination in the (almost) two years I've been wearing mine.


And on the fashion thing, that's definitely not the case with me - most people I know think I'm a complete dork for wearing one! (and I don't care :D)
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
41 months ago
The Apple Watch is the one item that I wish Apple would spend its time thinning rather than MacBook Pros and iPhones. My series 2 is OK but it's so bulky. The ergonomics are OK and it's still a bit of a solution to a problem I still haven't figured out yet.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
41 months ago

I swear if Series 3 rocks the same design / chassis I'm going to flip out.

Rectangle or circle. There's really not much otherwise. There are design considerations like beveling, squaring the corners or extra buttons, but it's a watch. You kinda have two options. They already have the rectangular version. At some point soon, they're going to intro a round version as well. Just my opinion, but I'd put money on it.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
41 months ago

can anyone explain to me how "glass-film touchscreen" is different than "touch-on-lens" and why it matters? just bought a series 2 and can't imagine this would be a huge improvement of any kind.

In a Touch-On-Lens (TOL) design, the ITO (transparent conductive material that makes up the sensor pattern) is deposited onto the rear surface of the glass front panel that you touch. This has the benefit of having only a single physical layer of glass between the user and the display, so the display is brighter & clearer. It is also useful on larger multi-touch displays as you can make the edge traces thinner on a TOL design, as it is easier to pattern silver onto glass. However, yields are typically a bit lower than a film based design, and costs are slightly higher. Also, as the active layer is part of the front glass, if that is cracked, it can lead to loss of touch function.

A glass-film design (GF) uses a glass front panel that only has decorative print on it (no active circuitry). All the ITO pattern & side traces are printed onto a separate flexible PET layer. This is laminated to the front panel using an optically clear adhesive. The benefits of this are that it's more rugged (damage to the front panel doesn't affect the touchscreen itself), it's cheaper to make, and yields are typically slightly better than TOL or Glass-Glass designs. It's best suited to smaller designes where the side traces are fewer, so there's no problem of them being thicker. However, it does mean the overall distance from where the finger touches the screen to the image on the display itself is larger, as there's more layers. Also, there's a drop in brightness & clarity as you have more layers for the light from the display to go through.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

Apple Acquires Weather App Dark Sky

Tuesday March 31, 2020 10:22 am PDT by Juli Clover
Apple has acquired weather app Dark Sky, Dark Sky's developers announced today. Dark Sky is one of the most popular weather apps on the App Store, known for its accuracy and storm warnings. Our goal has always been to provide the world with the best weather information possible, to help as many people as we can stay dry and safe, and to do so in a way that respects your privacy. There is no ...

Zoom Accused of Misleading Users With 'End-to-End Encryption' Claims Amid Other Security Issues [Updated]

Wednesday April 1, 2020 2:47 am PDT by Tim Hardwick
Zoom is facing fresh scrutiny today following a report that the videoconferencing app's encryption claims are misleading. Zoom states on its website and in its security white paper that the app supports end-to-end encryption, a term that refers to a way of protecting user content so that the company has no access to it whatsoever. However, an investigation by The Intercept reveals that...

Case for Upcoming Low-Cost iPhone Shows Up at Best Buy With Alleged April 5 Stock Date

Monday March 30, 2020 4:25 pm PDT by Juli Clover
Apple has a new low-cost iPhone in the works, which is supposed to be launching sometime in the first half of 2020. Given the ongoing situation in the United States and other countries, it's been unclear if the device is going to launch within the planned timeline, but there are signs that it could be coming soon. We started seeing cases for the new low-cost iPhone back in early February,...

Bloomberg: Apple's 5G iPhone Still on Schedule for Fall Launch, But Future Products Could Be Delayed

Monday March 30, 2020 2:40 am PDT by Tim Hardwick
Apple's 5G iPhone is still on track to launch within the company's typical annual fall release schedule, according to a new Bloomberg report on filed on Monday. Signs are that Apple's Chinese-centric manufacturing -- of which Hon Hai is the linchpin -- is slowly getting back on track. The next iPhones with 5G wireless capabilities remain on schedule to launch in the fall, partly because mass...

Testing Brydge's New Pro+ Keyboard With Trackpad for iPad Pro

Monday March 30, 2020 2:04 pm PDT by Juli Clover
Well ahead of when Apple introduced trackpad support in iOS 13.4, Brydge announced an iPad Pro keyboard with a built-in multi-touch trackpad. We have one of Brydge's new Pro+ keyboards on hand, and thought we'd check it out to see how it works with Apple's new 2020 iPad Pro models. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. The Brydge Pro+ keyboard is similar in design to...

Apple's Work on New Upcoming Products Progressing Normally as Employees Adjust to Telecommuting

Monday March 30, 2020 11:58 am PDT by Juli Clover
Apple's development of upcoming products is progressing as usual despite the fact that Apple employees around the world are working from home, according to a new report today out from Bloomberg. Apple is still working on new versions of the HomePod, Apple TV, MacBook Pro, budget iPads, Apple Watch, iPhone, and iMac, all of which could be released "as early as later this year" and have been...

Apple Releases ProRes RAW Beta for Windows

Monday March 30, 2020 9:33 am PDT by Juli Clover
Apple today released ProRes RAW for Windows in a beta capacity (via Mark Gurman), with the software designed to allow ProRes RAW and ProRes RAW HQ video files to be watched in compatible applications on Windows machines. According to Apple, the software will let the files be played within several Adobe apps: Adobe After Effects (Beta) Adobe Media Encocder (Beta) Adobe Premiere...

Apple Configurator 2 Updated With New Features, Including Support for Restoring Firmware on 2019 Mac Pro

Tuesday March 31, 2020 5:34 am PDT by Joe Rossignol
Apple Configurator 2 has been updated to version 2.12 with several improvements, including support for restoring firmware on the 2019 Mac Pro. The release notes:• Added support for restoring firmware on the 2019 Mac Pro • Allow access to websites using TLS 1.0 and 1.1 • VPN: Configure Provider Designated Requirement for Custom SSL connection type • VPN: Configure network options for ...

Seemingly Unreleased Version of Logic Pro X With Live Loops Appears on Apple's Education Site [Updated]

Sunday March 29, 2020 7:23 am PDT by Hartley Charlton
Update: Apple has replaced the Logic Pro X image with an older version. Original story follows. A seemingly unreleased version of Logic Pro X has appeared on Apple's education site, as spotted by a Reddit user. The image from Apple's education products page shows a 16-inch MacBook Pro running Logic Pro X, but with a familiar interface that looks extremely similar to GarageBand's Live Loops ...

Apple's 2020 MacBook Air vs. 2020 iPad Pro

Wednesday April 1, 2020 2:45 pm PDT by Juli Clover
Apple in March updated both the MacBook Air and the iPad Pro, and with the iPad Pro increasingly positioned as a computer replacement, we thought we'd compare both new machines to see how they measure up and which one might be a better buy depending on user needs. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. We're comparing the base model 12.9-inch iPad Pro and the base model...