Apple Watch Edition with ceramic case.
Apple Watch users know that their smart timepieces have great OLED displays, especially the latest Series 2 models which are much brighter than the first one.
But how about a whole new technology in the screen, Apple? Business Korea claims that the Cupertino company is developing its own screen system using micro LEDs instead of OLED.
This makes sense because Apple has owned LuxVue, a power-efficient LED company since April 2014. Before we go any further, let’s be clear, it’s the power-efficient part that’s of first importance here. A low-power display is important for any battery-powered tech, but for a gadget that goes on your wrist, the battery is pretty titchy, so the more power-efficient the better.
OLED already offers some energy savings, which is why so many of the screens are dominated by black which saves energy on OLED in a way it doesn’t on LCD screens, for instance.
LuxVue has filed multiple patents on micro LEDs, so it may be that there are more innovations to come here, too.
First of all, they are likely to have longer lifespans than some rivals, which is a boon for anyone who wants to keep their gadget longer.
But one of the most exciting possibilities is that the micro LEDs could be used in new, different ways.
A Luxvue patent from 2015 was reported by patentsencyclopedia.com as concerning “display panels, systems and methods of operation are described in which LEDs may be used for both emission and sensing”. Sensing, eh?
You’ll have heard already that Apple is trying to put its fingerprint sensor TouchID behind the display rather than have a separate TouchID button which takes real estate that could be used for screen.
As far as Apple gadgets are concerned, the Apple Watch was the first to feature an OLED screen. And it seems likely that OLED will make its way onto the iPhone this year.
So maybe micro LEDs with Touch ID under the screen will be pioneered on the Watch before finding their way onto the iPhone, too.
Right now, it’s hard to make larger-scale micro LED displays, so the Apple Watch looks like a perfect candidate for this new technology. But one day, perhaps, micro LED will be a crucial part of the iPhone.
Meantime, the latest rumours suggest that the next generation of Apple Watches may arrive this autumn, so we may see micro LEDs soon.
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