Apple's rumored switch to IGZO displays could boost MacBook battery life

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014
The next generation of MacBooks could, if Apple decides to make the switch, feature a new technology that would significantly boost battery life while giving users a better display quality.



Apple is once again rumored to be considering indium gallium zinc oxide (IGZO) LCDs, this time for inclusion in not only upcoming versions of its iPad, but also in its forthcoming MacBook Pros. A report from Korea IT News has the Cupertino company talking with Sharp and LG Display in preparation for wider manufacture.

The new MacBooks would reportedly be scheduled for release some time early in 2014, though the report gives no word on when IGZO-packing iPads would be set for release. The latest speculation surrounding the iPad does make mention of reduced backlighting and improved battery life, both of which could be outgrowths of IGZO technology.

An oxide semiconductor, IGZO is about 10 times faster in electron mobility than an amorphous silicon semiconductor. This allows the technology to consume far less power in operation. IGZO also requires smaller wiring, which also contributes to its lower power consumption.

The panels are significantly more expensive than traditional LCDs, though, so that could represent an obstacle for Apple in bringing them to market in the MacBook Pro line. Some estimates have Apple paying 1.5 to two times as much for the same panel sizes seen in current models.

A switch to IGZO could be in keeping with Apple's already established goals for this generation of MacBooks. When introducing the 2013 MacBook Air, Apple made sure to note that the inclusion of Intel's new Haswell processors had boosted overall battery life to 12 hours for the 13-inch model. The inclusion of less power-intensive displays could push the next generation of MacBook Pros to even greater heights.

Apple has long been rumored to have been looking at IGZO technology for future devices. Previous rumors have focused on the iPhone or iPad.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 34
    ifij775ifij775 Posts: 470member
    Something tells me a battery life improvement from this technology would be far more valuable than increasing the pixel density on the retina display.
  • Reply 2 of 34
    vl-tonevl-tone Posts: 337member


    I don't think the MacBook air will get a retina screen anytime soon (given that they were just updated).


     


    But I could see the retina MacBook Pro get noticeably thiner an lighter while still getting a battery life boost because of Haswell and IGZO displays.

  • Reply 3 of 34
    IGZO. The solution to whatever the problem was.
  • Reply 4 of 34
    vl-tonevl-tone Posts: 337member


    For some reason, reading IGZO always make me think about a French comic called Iznogoud.


  • Reply 5 of 34
    andysolandysol Posts: 2,506member
    IGZO. The solution to whatever the problem was.

    Haha- exactly. If it is what they say it is, it will be awesome to see on both Macs and iDevices. We'll see...
  • Reply 6 of 34
    v5vv5v Posts: 1,357member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post



    The panels are significantly more expensive than traditional LCDs, though, so that could represent an obstacle for Apple in bringing them to market in the MacBook Pro line. Some estimates have Apple paying 1.5 to two times as much for the same panel sizes seen in current models.


     


    I think I'd be willing to pay the premium.

  • Reply 7 of 34
    richard getzrichard getz Posts: 1,142member


    And this is one reason Apple holds on to their huge cash piles as it would bring a buying opportunity not easily match by other manufacturers. 

  • Reply 8 of 34
    drblankdrblank Posts: 3,383member
    And it cost $50 Kajillion dollars!!!!!! No, just joking.

    It looks cool.

    I think Apple needs to just buy Sharp and then have this technology to themselves.
  • Reply 9 of 34
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    The panels are significantly more expensive than traditional LCDs, though, so that could represent an obstacle for Apple in bringing them to market in the MacBook Pro line. Some estimates have Apple paying 1.5 to two times as much for the same panel sizes seen in current models.

    Not worried about it. The display probably costs $100 in the current model. So even in the worst case, it goes to $200. (And, of course, these analysts rarely know what they're talking about so it is probably less of an increase). Now, factor in the smaller battery and going back to a single backlight instead of the dual backlights in the Retina MBP and the price difference is even lower. But on a $2-3 K laptop, that's 3-5%. Apple can live with that for a while until manufacturing efficiencies improve - especially since Apple's demand would probably use up all available supply and no one else could get them.
  • Reply 10 of 34
    That would be great. Apple is pointing to a matter I'm concerned.
  • Reply 11 of 34
    hmmhmm Posts: 3,405member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by jragosta View Post





    Not worried about it. The display probably costs $100 in the current model. So even in the worst case, it goes to $200. (And, of course, these analysts rarely know what they're talking about so it is probably less of an increase). Now, factor in the smaller battery and going back to a single backlight instead of the dual backlights in the Retina MBP and the price difference is even lower. But on a $2-3 K laptop, that's 3-5%. Apple can live with that for a while until manufacturing efficiencies improve - especially since Apple's demand would probably use up all available supply and no one else could get them.




    I suspect they've done the same thing in the past. Prices are consistent throughout a cycle, so examining it at a broader scale rather than micromanaging each purchase would seem to make more sense for a company that isn't having cash flow issues. I'm skeptical of IGZO overall. Blogs have used the term to generate traffic for the past couple years regardless of Sharp's state (which I haven't looked into lately).

  • Reply 12 of 34
    solomansoloman Posts: 228member
    IGZO. The solution to whatever the problem was.

    The problem was that other displays used 'amorphous silicon semiconductors' better known as ASS
  • Reply 13 of 34
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,406member
  • Reply 14 of 34
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 7,429member


    Meh, Android has had this for years¡

  • Reply 15 of 34
    flaneurflaneur Posts: 4,521member
    Finally, some IGZO news. If Apple is the first to introduce this technology on a mass scale, it will be a very big deal. Wall Street might even be impressed. Maybe even Constable Odo. But i wouldn't bet on them seeing the significance.
  • Reply 16 of 34
    kenaustuskenaustus Posts: 911member
    Apple's capital investment strategy has been to purchase equipment for their component suppliers to use. That would be a great investment if IGZO is as good asa it looks. Apple could even help Sharp with their financial problems by purchasing the equipment currently in place. And increasing production capacity as an extra bonus.

    Both investments would dramatically reduce the component costs.

    Actually, since IGZO has been so clearly demonstrated to the public it is hard to believe that Apple hasn't known about it for a long time and has already had discussions with Sharp.
  • Reply 17 of 34
    flaneurflaneur Posts: 4,521member
    @[B]kenaustus[/B], Talk of Apple investing in Sharp for IGZO to the tune of a couple of billion goes back more than a year, if my memory serves.
  • Reply 18 of 34
    imax1imax1 Posts: 16member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Flaneur View Post



    @kenaustus, Talk of Apple investing in Sharp for IGZO to the tunebof a couple of billion goes back more than a year, if my memory serves.


     


    Apple has probably been planning this with Sharp since 2010...


     



    Days after a story claiming Apple and Toshiba were going to partner to build an LCD factory was emphatically denied, a new report now claims that Apple is instead partnering with Sharp to build a $1.2 billion facility.


     




  • Reply 19 of 34
    imax1imax1 Posts: 16member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Flaneur View Post



    @kenaustus, Talk of Apple investing in Sharp for IGZO to the tunebof a couple of billion goes back more than a year, if my memory serves.


     


    ...and then there was this...


     


     


    Apple reportedly picks Toshiba as sole supplier of iPhone LCDs


     


     


     


     


     


    According to a Japanese newspaper, Apple has dropped plans to invest in a production facility at Sharp and decided to use Toshiba as the sole manufacturer of liquid crystal displays for the iPhone.


     


    http://appleinsider.com/articles/11/04/20/apple_picks_toshiba_as_sole_supplier_of_iphone_lcds_rumor


     


    ... which seemingly contradicts the earlier rumor...


  • Reply 20 of 34
    dsddsd Posts: 184member


    With a screen like that, Apple could - dare I say it - rule the world.

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