A dual e-ink and LCD screen could save your gadget's battery life and your eyesight. Photo: Jon Snyder/Wired.com
Many iPad owners have complained that its backlit screen is just too bright for bedtime reading.
A recently unearthed patent shows that Apple has plans to fix such a problem by developing a hybrid display: part LCD or OLED, part low-power electronic ink.
Uncovered by Apple Insider, the patent, “Systems and Methods for Switching Between an Electronic Paper Display and a Video Display,” illustrates a method for displaying static content in e-ink while other portions of the screen appear using standard LCD technology.
Apple’s idea to combine a traditional display and an “electronic paper” display isn’t new. Last year, Pixel Qi developed a hybrid LCD screen for netbooks that lets the user toggle between a low-power reading mode and a brighter, standard LCD mode. Also, a startup called Entourage has made a hinged dual-screen folding tablet with an LCD on one side and e-ink screen on the other.
E-ink, or “electronic paper” as Apple refers to it in the filing, doesn’t rely on backlighting, resulting in a screen that is highly readable (even in bright sunlight) and low on power. The technology is dominated by the black and white displays produced by E Ink, such as the screen of the Amazon Kindle, but color e-ink displays are also on the horizon.
Apple’s method would involve a screen with “multiple composite display regions” with individually activated backlights, so content could be displayed in “electronic paper” mode if, for instance, it’s mostly text, or in “video display” mode if it involves high-resolution video or animations. The operating system would control the switching.
Apple Insider says it could be accomplished by sandwiching a clear e-ink display between a capacitive touchscreen and an OLED or LCD.
Such a hybrid display seems like it’d be great for extending your iPad or iPhone’s battery life, giving the backlights a break if you’re reading from iBooks or Instapaper. Not to mention a welcome breather from staring at bright, retina-searing screens all day.
Fuente: Gadget Lab