Apple to Use IGZO Displays to Achieve a Thinner Lower-Power iPad 3?
The latest Digitimes report claims that Apple will be utilizing IGZO (indium gallium zinc oxide) flat panels instead of IPS (in-plane switching panels) in its "next-generation mobile display products" such as the iPad 3.
Starting with the new iPads, Apple will utilize IGZO panels from Sharp in order to upgrade the display resolution of the new tablets to full HD level, the sources indicated.
Given Digitimes' misstep just yesterday about Apple's plans for Macworld, it might be hard to take their new report at face value.
However, this is not the first time that we've heard that Apple will be pursuing this new technology for the iPad 3. A research note from Jefferies analyst Peter Misek back in November made very similar claims:
Also, we believe that Apple and Sharp together have a modified IGZO (indium, gallium, zinc) technology to achieve 330 dpi, which is sufficient for an HD display while not using IPS nor having to include dual-bar LED backlighting. In our view, this should lead to several design advantages, namely the device can be thinner, battery life should be longer, and the overall experience for users should be meaningfully improved.
Sharp announced plans in April to commercialize these new IGZO panels for mass production later this year. The advantages of the new technology that should allow for lower power consumption and higher resolution displays. DisplayBlog recaps the advantages of this new technology:
The benefits of IGZO are plenty: lower cost of manufacturing, up to 30x higher electron mobility than a-Si (amorphous silicon), increased aperture ratio for improved light transmittance, higher resolution in terms of ppi, etc. IGZO would allow for significant cost reductions compared to LTPS (Low Temperature Poly-Silicon) based high resolution LCDs like the rumored 9.7-inch 2048×1536 IPS LCD for the iPad 3.
It sounds as if this new technology will allow Apple to avoid adding a second light bar system to the more traditional IPS display that is presently used in the iPad. It may also allow Apple to avoid making the iPad 3 thicker than the current iPad, and should consume less power.
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Regardless of whether this particular rumor is true, it illustrates an advantage of Apple's bottomless cash pile. Instead of simply adopting the latest technology for their products, they can actually drive innovation. Because they trust their instincts about picking winning and losing tech, they can afford to partner with a huge mfr (like Sharp) to bring a promising technology to market. That will give Apple some level of exclusivity, at least for a period of time, instead of getting the tech at the same time as everyone else.
Same thing with the OS. Because Apple has its own OS, they can easily differentiate themselves from all other OEMs. The only way a Windows OEM can differentiate themselves is price -- the race to the bottom. Even if an OEM could afford to bankroll some new technology or a new OS, they wouldn't take the chance.
That's why Google is allowing OEMs to customize the Android OS -- they're hoping to escape the same fate as Microsoft. But in attempting to avoid one problem, they've created another -- fragmentation.
However, if true, this would be pretty cool. The displays on iDevices are already really good, so even better would be awesome.
2) Well, the thickness of panels is more or less immaterial to their performance (apples to apples, ie LED to LED backlit), but to disregard it's importance in sale-ability is wrong. The thinnest TV's, which are the LED ones currently are less than an inch thick, but have much better image quality compared to their thicker counterparts, CCFL backlit panels (I can't comment on Plasmas). Also, you can wall mount those razor thin panels, so they barely stick out at all.
3) By all means then, you can stick with your older generation CCFL panels, they use >2x the power of a similar sized panel (we have energy ratings here, dunno about other countries). That's not a saving to be dismissed lightly. And where have you been anyway, the whole world is trying to save electricity these days.