Rumours on the Korean IT News website suggest Apple is looking to Sharp’s IGZO display technology to help its next generation of iPads and MacBooks consume less power and improve screen quality.
IGZO stands for Indium Gallium Zinc Oxide. It is a completely see-through compound semiconducting material that can be used to create a thin film layer to power displays. It significantly improves electron mobility compared to amorphous silicon semiconductors used in the current gen iPad 4 and MacBook Air.
This is good news for consumers as it means better battery life, higher pixel density and tiny screen bezels.
Sharp claims that displays with a PPI (pixels per inch) ratio of 500 are possible. That would almost double the 264 PPI Retina display Apple’s current-gen iPad 4.
Smaller bezels mean the potential for true edge to edge displays for mobiles, tablets and laptops; intriguingly IGZO technology also arms manufacturers with the ability to create ultra-high resolution, energy efficient devices with totally transparent screens.
Power savings of up to 90% on still images on screen have been touted by Sharp. The main power efficiency comes from the ability of IGZO to display an image on the screen even after power has been switched off. This would increase battery life for phones, tablets and laptops as one of the main power drains is the screen. The already impressive battery life of the Macbook Air, for example, could be extended even further.
Significantly Sharp’s IGZO technology can also be adapted for use in OLED displays, paving the way for Samsung, which uses OLED technology for its flagship Galaxy S4 phone, to keep pace with Apple.
Sharp is the only manufacturer currently set up to mass-manufacture IGZO panels and has begun to increase production. LG is also making changes to its production lines to be able to mass produce IGZO displays.
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