Apple to introduce new power-saving backplane tech for the iPhone?
Future iPhones and Apple Watches could come with better battery life thanks to a new power-saving backplane technology which Apple is said to be exploring.
According to research firm IHS Markit, Apple is reportedly switching to low-temperature polycrystalline oxide (LTPO) TFT for the backplane in future iPhones. The iPhone maker has applied for three LTPO patents in the past four years.
The backplane is responsible for turning individual pixels on and off, hence it plays an important role in determining the display's resolution, refresh rate and power consumption. How different is LTPO TFT from the low-temperature polysilicon (LTPS) currently used in AMOLED displays? LTPO TFT offers 5-15% lower power consumption compared to LTPS TFT as the oxide TFT structure can reduce the power leakage of LTPS.
Although Apple relies on display manufacturers such as Samsung to produce OLED displays, it hopes to develop LTPO backplane technology so that it has more control over the components of the OLED display. Apple can be more closely involved in the component cost and technology, reduce power consumption on its devices, achieve high electron mobility for higher resolutions of its displays, and better manage its display supply chain and that of its partner-display manufacturers. In addition, Apple's investment in LTPO backplane technology could help differentiate its OLED display from those of Samsung.
IHS Markit believes Apple will start negotiations with its display suppliers to start deploying LTPO on the Apple Watch before gradually introducing the new backplane technology to the iPhone.