Apple Investigating Thinner, Lower Power IGZO Displays Across iPad and iPhone Product Lines for 2013

According to a new DigiTimes report, Apple is evaluating the feasibility of using IGZO displays across their iPad, iPad mini and iPhone products in 2013.

The sources said Apple is in further discussions with Sharp over IGZO panel production capacity estimates for 2013 and is also inquiring about whether AU Optronics' (AUO) L5C line could be used to produce the technology.

We've heard rumors about Sharp's IGZO displays over the past year, but no Apple products yet seem to use the new technology. There had been talk of production delays that may have prevented Apple from pursuing the technology.

Qualcomm recently invested in Sharp to push forward the technology. Sharp is reportedly betting on IGZO to save the company, which is in dire financial straits.

IGZO has been touted as having many benefits over existing technology. PCWorld notes lower power consumption, improved touch sensitivity and increased pixel density among these benefits.

This difference in current flow inside the screen also means that transistors don't have to be continually refreshed when a still image is on the screen. That leads to lower power consumption and, for touch panels, much less interference from the screen's electronics so the touch panel becomes more accurate and sensitive, said Nobuhiro Okan, a manager with Sharp's display device group.

The glass edge of each display can also be made slimmer, allowing for smaller devices.

Obviously, those improvements would be highly desired for Apple to advance their products. The iPad, in particular, actually found itself both thicker and heavier in the 3rd Generation model in order to accommodate the battery for the power-hungry Retina display. Display power consumption and thickness were also likely factors that prevented the iPad mini from adopting a Retina display in its first generation. Rumors have already suggested that the 2013 5th Generation iPad could be slightly thinner and smaller than the current models.

Related Roundups: iPad mini 5, iPad

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
101 months ago

Samsung is not switching to LCD. They always had superior LCD panels but for their high end phones they use OLED. They do use LCD for cheap phones - always did. They also release some cheaper versions of high end phones for poor countries with LCD. Nexus 10 uses LCD because OLED panel with such high resolution would be prohibitively expensive. The biggest OLED screen Samsung produces in volume is a 7.7 screen in Galaxy Tab. Not all OLED panels use pentile matrix and the issue is becoming irrelevant anyway when pixel density reaches 300 ppi. Apple calls it "retina" because you can't see pixels and when you can't see pixels, you obviously can't see subpixels. And BTW Samsung will soon switch to IGZO for OLED.

LCDs used in cheap Samsung phones have nothing to do with high-quality LCDs like the one in the iPhone 5 and other new flagship phones. That changes nothing about them being superior to OLED screens like the ones in the GS3/Note 2 overall.

By the way, the 300 PPI thing only applies to displays with a RGB matrix since the distance separating each subpixel from another of its color is the same as the distance between each pixel. Therefore, the number of subpixel of a same color per inch is the same as the PPI for a RGB matrix. That isn't true for a PenTile matrix, which has an inflated PPI number compared to what your eyes will actually perceive: the subpixels.

It's impossible to set apart two points when their distance from each other and from the viewer's eyes surpass the human eye's visual acuity, measured in arcminute. In this case, the two points would be sub pixels, not pixels, since pixels aren't actual sources of light, they're just an arbitrary group of subpixels that depend on the matrix you choose.

For example, those two displays have the same PPI but different matrixes (RGB on the left, PenTile on the right):



Notice that they have the same green subpixel density but the one on the left has a higher density of red and blue subpixels. The optimal linear density of red and blue subpixels in the PenTile matrix would be around 1/sqrt(2) times lower.

So let's assume those two displays have 300 PPI.

The one with the RGB matrix would have:
300 red subpixels per inch
300 green subpixels per inch
300 blue subpixels per inch

The one with the PenTile matrix would have:
212 red subpixels per inch (in diagonal)
300 green subpixels per inch
212 blue subpixels per inch (in diagonal)

So assuming we were displaying an image with an equal amount of red, green and blue, the RGB matrix would have an average perceived density of 300 PPI while the PenTile display would be around 241 PPI.

The significant difference between the two can of course be perceived by any human with normal visual acuity (20/20 vision).
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
101 months ago
What's the bet that Apple would use this technology to make the iphone thinner and lighter overall, rather than improving the battery life?
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
101 months ago

"Investigating" is a little late to start releasing by March


Well, for all we know, they could be well past "investigating".;)
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
101 months ago

Err, it's more like the other way around.

IPS is superior to OLED and it's only recently that Android hardware is starting to switch from OLED to IPS. See the Nexus 4 compared to older Nexuses, HTC One X/DNA, the Nexus tablets and the Lumia 920 / HTC One 8 on the WP8 side.

The only major company still putting OLED in their flagships is Samsung (Galaxy SIII, Note 2, Galaxy Nexus) and those are the ones with displays that feel outdated now when you compare them to the competition. Reviews put down their (relatively) bad display and use of PenTile subpixel matrix and hopefully Samsung will switch to IPS like all others for the GS4.

Apple switching to OLED would be a huge step backwards considering that the iPhone 4 from 2.5 years ago still beat most OLED displays on so many levels.


I really don't get all this nonsense about OLED being better than IPS... I have a Galaxy Note 2 (non-pentile) and the screen IS GORGEOUS. The blacks are like the screen is turned of! My iPad 4 has a little washed-out blacks and I don't understand why all these technical specifications are so important to people like you, because what really matters is what you SEE and perceive. And OLED looks much better than IPS.

Also, I don't don't see Galaxy Note 2 users, for instance, asking Samsung for better battery life, or this or that... But when I come here, all I see is "Apple, please do this... Apple, please, do that"... Asking for things we already have in the Android side for years!
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
101 months ago

Err, it's more like the other way around.

IPS is superior to OLED and it's only recently that Android hardware is starting to switch from OLED to IPS. See the Nexus 4 compared to older Nexuses, HTC One X/DNA, the Nexus tablets and the Lumia 920 / HTC One 8 on the WP8 side.

The only major company still putting OLED in their flagships is Samsung (Galaxy SIII, Note 2, Galaxy Nexus) and those are the ones with displays that feel outdated now when you compare them to the competition. Reviews put down their (relatively) bad display and use of PenTile subpixel matrix and hopefully Samsung will switch to IPS like all others for the GS4.

Apple switching to OLED would be a huge step backwards considering that the iPhone 4 from 2.5 years ago still beat most OLED displays on so many levels.

IPS will never be superior to OLED because the black level cannot be reached due to the inherent backlight feature of IPS technology. OLED can fully switch off that pixel with no interference from backlight or surrounding pixels. How many times have you hear of backlight bleeding with IPS displays...? All the time because that's how they're designed.

OLED is the future, the only reason IPS is more prevalent now is because it costs less to produce. High resolution OLED displays still cost far too much to be succesful commercial but production costs are coming down all the time.

The Galaxy Note 2 has a 720p 5.5 in AMOLED panel that does not have a pentile configuration and produces stunning quality video and superb picture clarity. Much better than the GS3.

The AMOLED screen can be intensely bright I only ever use 30% indoors and can reach zero black level to provide huge contrast levels. I see the difference between the iPad 3 and GN2 easily. iPad 3 wins in sheer resolution.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
101 months ago

So, lately Android devices get the best hardware much sooner than Apple devices. Apple has not been able to switch to OLED for many years now. And now they can't even get LCD IZGO. That's a major disadvantage of Apple strategy - having only one device model automatically means that this is a mid-range model. New tech supplies are always limited.


Err, it's more like the other way around.

IPS is superior to OLED and it's only recently that Android hardware is starting to switch from OLED to IPS. See the Nexus 4 compared to older Nexuses, HTC One X/DNA, the Nexus tablets and the Lumia 920 / HTC One 8 on the WP8 side.

The only major company still putting OLED in their flagships is Samsung (Galaxy SIII, Note 2, Galaxy Nexus) and those are the ones with displays that feel outdated now when you compare them to the competition. Reviews put down their (relatively) bad display and use of PenTile subpixel matrix and hopefully Samsung will switch to IPS like all others for the GS4.

Apple switching to OLED would be a huge step backwards considering that the iPhone 4 from 2.5 years ago still beat most OLED displays on so many levels.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

iOS 14 Widgets Offer iPhone Users Creative Home Screen Ideas

Sunday September 20, 2020 8:43 pm PDT by
In iOS 14, Apple introduced ‌the concept of Home Screen‌ widgets, which provide information from apps at a glance. Widgets can be pinned to the Home Screen in various spots and sizes, allowing for many different layouts. Despite the relative lack of 3rd party widgets at launch, iOS users around the...

iPhone 12 Lineup Rumored to Be Named 'iPhone 12 mini,' 'iPhone 12,' 'iPhone 12 Pro,' and 'iPhone 12 Pro Max'

Monday September 21, 2020 5:24 am PDT by
Leaker known as "L0vetodream" has today shared the alleged naming for the upcoming iPhone 12 lineup on Twitter. The tweet proposes that the upcoming iPhone 12 models will be titled "iPhone 12 mini," "iPhone 12," "iPhone 12 Pro," and "iPhone 12 Pro Max." The names likely correspond to the three expected sizes of iPhone 12, with the 5.4-inch model being the iPhone 12 mini, the 6.7-inch model ...

Hands-On With the New Apple Watch Series 6 and Apple Watch SE

Friday September 18, 2020 1:19 pm PDT by
Today's the official launch date for the Apple Watch Series 6 and the Apple Watch SE, both of which Apple announced on Tuesday. We picked up a couple of the new models and thought we'd give them a quick look for MacRumors readers thinking of ordering a new watch. Apple Watch Series 6 & Apple Watch SE Hands-On! When it comes to design, both the $399 Series 6 and the $279 SE look just like...

iOS 14 Picture in Picture No Longer Working With YouTube's Mobile Website in Safari [Without Premium]

Friday September 18, 2020 12:21 pm PDT by
Apple in iOS 14 added Picture in Picture to the iPhone, a feature designed to let you watch a video in a small screen on your device while you continue to do other things on the phone. When Picture in Picture was working with YouTube The YouTube app doesn't support Picture in Picture, but up until yesterday there was a functional workaround that allowed videos from YouTube.com to be watched...

When Will the iPhone 12 Launch? Here's What We Know

Wednesday September 16, 2020 6:12 am PDT by
Yesterday's "Time Flies" Apple event saw the release of the Apple Watch Series 6, Apple Watch SE, iPad 8, and iPad Air 4, but no new iPhone models. Rumors before the event strongly alleged that it would not see the unveiling of new iPhones, with many reports pointing to an October launch. The lack of new iPhone models yesterday seems to confirm that the iPhone 12 lineup will not appear...

Here's How You Can Download iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 Around the World [It's Out]

Wednesday September 16, 2020 2:36 am PDT by
Apple's official public release of iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 dropped on Wednesday, September 16, just a day after the company released the Golden Master to third-party developers. Also set to be made available to the general public for the first time are watchOS 7 and tvOS 14. Getting Started With iOS 14 Video Click image to watch iOS 14 Getting Started While that's left a lot of developers...

AirPods Studio Rumored to Come With U1 Chip, Ultra-Wideband Said to Be Vital to Future Apple Ecosystem

Sunday September 20, 2020 6:17 am PDT by
Proven leaker known as "L0vetodream" has today shared a range of information about the ultra-wideband U1 chip in Apple's upcoming AirTags item trackers and AirPods Studio headphones. The first of a series of tweets shared today simply stated that AirPods Studio will contain an ultra-wideband U1 chip. It seems likely that the U1 chip would be used in AirPods Studio to track the location of...

Kuo: Apple to Accelerate Adoption of Mini-LED Displays in iPad and Mac Notebook Lineups

Sunday September 20, 2020 10:00 pm PDT by
Increased competition among Apple's suppliers for mini-LED display chips will accelerate the company's adoption of the advanced technology in its iPad and MacBook lineups, according to a new research note from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo seen by MacRumors. Kuo says that while Epistar had been predicted to be the exclusive supplier of mini-LED chips for Apple products in 2021, Sanan Optoelectronics...

Top Stories: Apple Event Recap, Apple Watch Series 6, Redesigned iPad Air, and More

Saturday September 19, 2020 6:00 am PDT by
This week's news was obviously dominated by Apple's media event and the launch of iOS 14, but there was a lot to digest, so check out our summary below for the high-level view of the past week. With the exception of the massively redesigned iPad Air, all of the new hardware introduced this week is starting to appear on store shelves and on customers' doorsteps, while all of the new software...

Apple Updates AirPods 2 and AirPods Pro Firmware to Version 3A283

Monday September 14, 2020 11:24 am PDT by
Apple today released new 3A283 firmware updates for the second-generation AirPods and the AirPods Pro. The second-generation AirPods are being updated from the 2D15 firmware they were previously running, while the AirPods Pros are being updated from the 2D27 firmware they had installed previously. Apple does not provide details on what's included in refreshed firmware so we don't know what's ...