Image: Julian O’hayon / Anckor
Future iPhone and Apple Watch models to feature new LTPO backplane technology to improve battery life, according to a new report.
According to a new report from IHS Markit, Apple is considering changing the current backplane technology from low-temperature polysilicon thin-film transistor, or LTPS TFT that is used in most AMOLED panel production, to low-temperature polycrystalline oxide or LTPO.
The author of the report, David Hsieh, says that Apple has filed three separate patents, one in 2014, 2015, and 2018, that proves Apple has an interest in this technology. According to Hsieh, he says that the patents “each detail how the backplane technology associated with managing whether pixels are on or off can be improved.”
Furthermore, Hsieh goes on to say in the report, “We estimate that Apple’s target is to strengthen the graphics processing unit in the CPU, and bypass the frame memory in order to reduce power consumption.” In the report, Apple is said to be working on this technology on their own, and without help from LG or Samsung, which have provided panels for Apple devices for years, and Samsung specifically providing the OLED panels in iPhone X.
In regards to less power consumption, the report goes on to say that consumers can expect between 5 to 15% less power consumption, thus slightly improving overall battery life.
According to Hsieh, Apple has some hurdles to push through with this technology. A major issue with the new display is that the LTPO requires larger transistor sizes in the TFT display, thus reducing the resolution of the screen. The report also details a second issue with the technology, and that is the equipment needed to manufacture these displays are far more complex and larger than before, and far more costly.
With every year, comes a new iPhone, and with a new iPhone, comes a new, faster, more efficient Apple chip. In the current generations’ A11 Bionic chip, Apple was quick to explain why the A11 Bionic was better than the A10 Fusion chip it replaced. In the press release by Apple, “The performance cores in the A11 chip are 25 percent faster than the A10 chip, while the efficiency cores are 70 percent faster than the A10 chip.” With Apple pairing better chips every year, and new display technology in the future, the iPhone looks to not just be even more powerful, but more efficient, and last longer than ever before.
Hsieh quickly goes on to say that Apple may experiment with the technology on the Apple Watch first, since it is a smaller display and relatively easier to work with. But, due to the technological and production challenges, we will not see this technology for at least a few years.