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

ipad 3 hand1According 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, iPad
Related Forums: iPhone, iPad

Top Rated Comments

pgiguere1 Avatar
115 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)
mrsir2009 Avatar
115 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)
dampfnudel Avatar
115 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)
lcmazza Avatar
115 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)
tdream Avatar
115 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)
pgiguere1 Avatar
115 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

affinity designer contour tool

Serif Updates Affinity Photo, Designer, and Publisher With New Tools and Functions

Thursday February 4, 2021 1:58 am PST by
Serif today announced across-the-board updates for its popular suite of Affinity creative apps, including Affinity Photo, Affinity Designer, and the Apple award-winning Affinity Publisher for Mac, all of which were among the first professional creative suites to be optimized for Apple's new M1 chip. "After another year which saw record numbers of people switching to Affinity, it's exciting to...
studio buds family

Beats Studio Buds Debuting Today With Active Noise Cancellation, Stemless Design, and More for $150

Monday June 14, 2021 8:00 am PDT by
We've seen a lot of teasers about the Beats Studio Buds over the past month since they first showed up in Apple's beta software updates, and today they're finally official. The Beats Studio Buds are available to order today in red, white, and black ahead of a June 24 ship date, and they're priced at $149.99. The Studio Buds are the first Beats-branded earbuds to truly compete with AirPods...
maxresdefault

Craig Federighi and Greg Joswiak Discuss iPadOS 15, macOS Monterey, Privacy, Shortcuts on Mac, and More

Saturday June 12, 2021 6:12 am PDT by
As is tradition, Apple executives Craig Federighi and Greg Joswiak joined Daring Fireball's John Gruber in an episode of The Talk Show to discuss several announcements that Apple made over this weeks WWDC, including iPadOS 15, macOS Monterey, and a large focus around privacy. Federighi kicks off the conversation discussing the common architecture, now thanks to Apple silicon, across all of...
youtube apple tv

YouTube Discontinuing 3rd-Generation Apple TV App, AirPlay Still Available

Wednesday February 3, 2021 3:09 pm PST by
YouTube is planning to stop supporting its YouTube app on the third-generation Apple TV models, where YouTube has long been available as a channel option. A 9to5Mac reader received a message about the upcoming app discontinuation, which is set to take place in March.Starting early March, the YouTube app will no longer be available on Apple TV (3rd generation). You can still watch YouTube on...
adobe photoshop sketch ipad

Adobe Removing Photoshop Sketch and Illustrator Draw From App Store in July

Saturday June 26, 2021 4:02 pm PDT by
Adobe this week reminded customers that its Photoshop Sketch and Illustrator Draw apps will no longer be available for download on iOS and Android starting July 19. Adobe plans to stop supporting the apps for existing users on January 10, 2022. In a support document, Adobe said users can easily migrate to its Fresco app, which combines many Photoshop Sketch and Illustrator Draw drawing and...
REC ASA CODE2016 20160601 205816 2745

Elon Musk Reportedly Demanded to Become Apple CEO as Part of Potential Tesla Acquisition [Update: Musk Denies]

Friday July 30, 2021 9:04 am PDT by
Tesla CEO Elon Musk reportedly once demanded that he be made Apple CEO in a brief discussion of a potential acquisition with Apple's current CEO, Tim Cook. The claim comes in a new book titled "Power Play: Tesla, Elon Musk and the Bet of the Century," as reviewed by The Los Angeles Times. According to the book, during a 2016 phone call between Musk and Cook that touched on the possibility of ...
homepod feature blue2

Looking to Grab a HomePod Before They're Gone? These Retailers Still Have Stock

Monday March 15, 2021 6:54 am PDT by
Apple last week discontinued the original HomePod, marking just over three years on the market for the full-size smart speaker. If you're looking to purchase the larger HomePod before it's completely gone, there are still some options online today. The biggest retailer with remaining stock on the HomePod is Apple itself, which has the White HomePod for $299.00 on its website. Space Gray is...
september 2021 event ar logo

Apple's September 14 Event Page Features AR Logo on iPhone

Tuesday September 7, 2021 9:23 am PDT by
Apple this morning announced a digital-only event that will be held on Tuesday, September 14, and if you view the event webpage on an iPhone, you can tap on the logo to open up Apple's Safari AR viewer and you'll see the three-dimensional logo move in real-time in the real world. Just open up the event site on an ‌iPhone‌ or iPad and tap right on the logo to open up the AR version. The...
iphone 11 night mode photos

Apple Reveals New Night Mode Photo Feature Exclusive to iPhone 11 Series

Tuesday September 10, 2019 12:23 pm PDT by
Apple today announced the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and the iPhone 11 Max, all-new models that boast improved cameras, and specifically, a dramatic new Night Mode photo feature. Last year, Google introduced its impressive Night Sight camera mode, a software-based feature that allows users to take detailed pictures in dark environments using Google Pixel smartphones. Apple's new Night...
iPhone 13 Dummy Thumbnail 2

Kuo: iPhone 13 to Feature LEO Satellite Communications to Make Calls and Texts Without Cellular Coverage

Sunday August 29, 2021 7:39 am PDT by
The iPhone 13 will feature low earth orbit (LEO) satellite communication connectivity to allow users to make calls and send messages in areas without 4G or 5G coverage, according to the reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. In a note to investors, seen by MacRumors, Kuo explained that the iPhone 13 lineup will feature hardware that is able to connect to LEO satellites. If enabled with the relevant...