Apple recently patented a new technology called “Smart Pixel” for its future device displays. The patent was filed in the second quarter of 2017, and on Thursday it was published by the U.S Patent and Trademark Office.
The patent describes the benefits of Smart Pixel in replacement to traditional thin film transistor (TFT) technology, how it is more cost-effective and how it can supplement analog circuitry with digital storage by facilitating better rates and display. Micro LED devices are highly efficient at light emission and are said to consume less power compared to 5-10 watts required for LCD or OLED light emission. Such a display would potentially extend battery life by a significant margin.
This move will also help Apple to significantly reduce its dependency on third party companies such as Samsung, its existing partner for OLED supply for Apple iPhone 8.
According to Lee Biing-jye, chairman of Taiwanese chip maker, Epistar, “Micro LED technology could be used in smaller, wearable devices like smart watches in three years,”
The new technology can be used in wearable devices like Augmented Reality AR/VR headsets within the next couple of years. The patent for Micro LED displays covers all sizes from small devices to smartphones, high definition televisions, computer displays and beyond, using Smart Pixel technology.
Flat panel displays utilizing LED are growing in the wide range of electronics devices, from small handheld electronic gadgets to larger outdoor units, typically using an active matrix display structure.
A survey report from Taiwan electronic equipment Industry Association says 57% of the expert thinks that Micro LED technology will be initially used in smart watches in the next three years.
The report says that Apple is working towards adopting Micro LED technology for small- to medium-size displays, while other international consumer electronics manufacturers are planning to apply the technology in their next generation of big screen TV.
While we have to wait to see how Apple adapts to the new technology and starts implementing it. For sure, with Smart Pixel technology, a typical iPhone will see significantly extended battery life, as it uses individual pixel control on its display.