A new report from Asia today tells us that Apple has opted for Oxide TFT LCD technology for its 9.7" iPad Air 3 that will be released in the second half of next year. The decision was made for design innovation to reduce the overall thickness of iPad to decrease power consumption by more than half while keeping the LCD. In addition to oxide, Apple is scheduled to make considerable changes to liquid crystal display for LCD upgrades. In addition, Samsung Display and LG Display, the key suppliers, are forecast to embark on an investment for shift to oxide TFT LCD. The report also points to yet more display shits coming to the iPad in 2015.
According to supply chain reports, Apple recently made a request to Korean display makers to develop oxide TFT LCD for its 9.7" iPad. However, some report that yield issues currently exist.
Additionally, the report notes that there are largely two reasons for Apple's selection of oxide LCD. First, it enables to drastically lower power consumption than amorphous silicon (a-Si) type and produces large open resistance, and thus lowers current leakage. Second, with high electron mobility, it can be run with the minimum power. Oxide LCD is also effective in increasing touch screen panel (TSP) precision.
In a general TFT circuit, weak electronic noise is generated and it obstructs touch sensor recognition. However, in oxide circuit, noise impact can be reduced as idle operation is possible. At the same time, oxide LCD requires low investment cost, and thus production cost can be reduced. Design freedom is also increased as low power consumption leads to battery reduction.
Despite such advantages, oxide LCD yield has been relatively low. Other tablet PC makers have been opting for low temperature poly silicon (LTPS) type LCD because of this problem.
As Apple selected oxide LCD, Samsung Display and LG Display are having to undergo an investment to meet Apple's order specifications.
The iPad may Shift to yet another Display Technology in 2015
In addition to oxide LCD, Apple plans to introduce a number of latest liquid crystal technologies to the iPad model for next year. As for liquid crystal, the company has adopted N (negative) type rather than the existing P (positive) liquid crystal. N type produces high transmittance, and thus can drastically increase luminance. In addition, it holds strengths to lower power consumption or increase color reproduction range under the same luminance specification.
One supply chain supplier noted that "Although LCD is superior in terms of resolution, it can fall behind OLED for power consumption or color reproducibility."
Yet Apple's current Retina display in many ways still outshines anything from Samsung, including their latest wizbang marketed tablet the Samsung Tab S. I checked out the Tab S last weekend. It's a light and very nice tablet, yet the color, when checking out my own website, really didn't do as well as the current iPad. The colors were oversaturated, a problem with Samsung's OLED.
Samsung's latest tablet did have one slight advantage and that was in playing video. That means little for me though it may for others. In the end, Apple has been able to stay ahead of the competiton in respect to display quality over the years and shifting to new technologies for 2015 will only advance the Retina display that much further.
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