Photo via AlanGraham999
In the rumor mill when the iPad was still under development was that it would use OLED technology for the touch screen. The murmurs stayed squarely in the rumor category, since no OLED manufacturer was really capable of churning out the number of screens that would be demanded by consumers. However, the rumors are back that Apple is looking at making the next generation of iPads with OLED technology. According to Digitimes," Apple reportedly has started development of the second generation iPad using the same design concept as for the iPhone 4G, and will use an OLED panel, according to sources in the component industry."
Besides availability, the other issue that seemed to be in the way of an iPad with an OLED screen is cost. For a screen so large, OLEDs are really pricey. For example, LG's 15" OLED TV is priced upwards of $2200. While the rumor states that the next gen iPad with OLED would launch in 2011, a Digitimes Research senior analyst says that's way too optimistic - it's just too expensive to be practical for an iPad. According the the analyst, the current price of the 9.7-inch LCD panel for iPad is about US$60-70, but the price of a 9.7-inch OLED panel is about US$500. That is quite a hefty price difference.
OLED technology tends to get a lot of coverage in green gadget news, since it is considered an attractive option for potentially more energy efficient devices. However, Apple is already doing pretty well with the iPad, since it has an LED backlit screen. Right now, LED backlit LCD screens are more energy efficient than OLEDs, especially as the size of the screen goes up. OLEDs would have to prove themselves much more efficient than LED backlit screens to justify the price difference.
Still, it's an interesting rumor, and who knows - it could very well prove to be true. If not for 2011 then perhaps shortly after.
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