OLED screens have been sought after by tech companies for years, in part because they're hailed as the future of highly energy efficient displays that don't sacrifice quality or color. However, the technology still has a lot of improving to do before it will be competitive with current technology like LED-backed LCD screens. That hasn't stopped Apple from trying to give OLED tech a boost with a new patent.
Apple Insider, which uncovered the patent, writes, "Apple has shown interest in improving the technology behind organic light emitting diodes, or OLED displays, to provide even better battery life for devices like the iPhone and iPad... Entitled "Power Efficient Organic Light Emitting Diode Display," it describes ways in which an OLED screen could offer improved battery life, particularly when displaying the color white."
It is no wonder the company is doing all it can to improve battery life in power-hungry devices like iPhones -- especially after all the negative press about the battery bug in the recent iPhone 4S. A longer battery life thanks to more efficient features such as the display will be a huge benefit for users.
OLED screens can operate at lower voltages than LCD screens on Apple devices, but the advantages lessen when large amounts of white need to be displayed, such as when users are reading online news or e-books, or writing emails. The solution as Apple sees it is rather interesting. Apple Insider explains:
Apple's proposed solution to this problem would include a transparent OLED display panel positioned in front of a solid white background layer, like a white transflective sheet. The display would also feature an opacity switchable layer located between the OLED panel and the background layer...The combination of a solid white background and an opaque layer that could be made transparent would allow a transparent OLED panel to avoid displaying the color white. By instead utilizing the white background, this could produce the color when appropriate, such as when reading black text on a white background, without consuming battery life to turn the individual OLED pixels white.
The rumors over Apple's interest in using OLED technology in its devices go back years -- and it was thought for some time before the iPad came out and even during development of the iPad 2 that it might utilize OLED technology for its display. However, the technology just hasn't quite arrived yet. perhaps it will soon, to the relief of everyone who has to carry around a charger in case their battery can't last through the day. The less energy intensive these ubiquitous devices can be, the better for everyone.
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