Friday, May 20, 2020

Apple Files Patent for Hybrid Display Technology

Los Angeles - Apple recently filed a patent for a hybrid display technology, combining the features of its Retina display (based on LCD technology) with Electron Ink (E-Ink) technology.  The patent claims the screen will be so advanced that it will be able to select whether to employ LCD or E-Ink technology based on displayed content, and the screen will subdivide itself, allowing portions to employ LCD technology while other areas use E-Ink.
While LCD displays are common in computer monitors and cell phones, E-Ink is rather new.  E-Ink Corporation was founded in 1997, and the first well-known product to incorporate an E-Ink display was Amazon’s Kindle e-book reader, which was released in 2007.  The E-Ink display technology has certain advantages over LCD displays, namely increased battery life and reduced user eye strain.  The increased battery life is due to E-Ink only requiring power to change the image on the screen (whereas LCD displays must constantly refresh even static images) and its ability to be used without a backlight.  Use of E-Ink without a backlight is also one of the reasons for the reduction in eye strain but it therefore requires ambient light for the screen to be readable.
How exactly Apple intends to integrate these two technologies remains secretive.  The use of LCD display technology means that, barring another technological breakthrough, a backlight will remain a requirement for the LCD display to operate.  Also, with the screen able to employ both LCD and E-Ink technologies simultaneously, how an LCD style backlight will interact with an E-Ink display may cause other issues. 
With this patent, Apple has once again proven to be one of the most forward thinking consumer electronics companies, but only time will tell whether this patent comes to fruition.

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