Cool: Apple Invents a Dual Display MacBook that a User will be able to use Outdoors with Sunglasses on
Today the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals their most recent invention relating to dual display MacBooks. Apple was first to patent dual display notebooks back in 2010-2011 with reconfigurable interfaces that would be able to double as a keyboard, a game pad, an artist's pad and more. In this advancement of the dual display notebook Apple reveals adding polarizer layers and other optical layers in the displays that could be configured to provide a viewer with the ability to view images on the displays while wearing vertically polarized sunglasses and to suppress reflections of light emitted by the first display off of the second display. For the record, while Apple may have patented the idea ahead of their competition, waiting this long to come to market has allowed Lenovo to be first to deliver a slick dual display notebook to market. We covered that story and provided a video of the unit that you could view here.
Apple's patent application 20170039018 titled "Dual Display Equipment with Enhanced Visibility and Suppressed Reflections" was originally filed back in Q3 2015.
Technically speaking, Apple notes that polarizer layers and other optical layers such as wave plates in the dual displays may be configured to provide a viewer with the ability to view images on the displays while wearing vertically polarized sunglasses and to suppress reflections of light emitted by the first display off of the second display.
The first display may be a display such as a liquid crystal display that has inner and outer linear polarizers. The outer polarizer may have a transmission axis that is parallel to horizontal edges of the first display.
The second display may be a display such as an organic light-emitting diode display. The organic light-emitting diode display may have pixels containing thin-film transistors and organic light-emitting diodes that emit light. A circular polarizer that covers the pixels may be used to suppress ambient light reflections.
The circular polarizer of the second display may have a linear polarizer with a transmission axis that runs parallel to the horizontal edges and may have a quarter wave plate interposed between the linear polarizer and the pixels. In configurations in which the first display emits vertically polarized light, the linear polarizer of the second display may absorb the vertically polarized light and thereby suppress reflections. In configurations in which the first display emits circularly polarized light, an additional quarter wave plate may be placed on top of the circular polarizer of the second display to help suppress reflections of light from the first display.
In Apple's patent FIG. 7 below we're able to see polarizers and other optical layers that may be incorporated into displays in an electronic device in accordance with an embodiment.
In FIG. 7 you're able to see viewer #48 at the bottom of the graphic viewing displays 14A and 14B through sunglasses #102 in direction #50. Each lens in the sunglasses has a linear polarizer with a transmission axis #120 that runs vertically, parallel to vertical dimension #110. Display 14A may be a liquid crystal display having a linear upper polarizer such as polarizer.
Display 14A may use negative liquid crystal material and may exhibit enhanced off-axis viewing performance when pass axis #122 of polarizer #54 is oriented horizontally.
Display 14B may be an organic light-emitting diode display. The uppermost layers of display 14B (i.e., layers 14B') may include a circular polarizer such as circular polarizer 100 to suppress ambient light reflections. Circular polarizer #100 may have a quarter wave plate such as quarter wave plate 100A and a linear polarizer such as polarizer #100B. Transmission axis #130 of linear the polarizer 100B may run parallel to horizontal direction.
Considering that this is a patent application, the timing of such a product to market is unknown at this time.
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