For the next iPad models, Apple is looking for “crumple-free” OLED displays.

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A hybrid OLED panel is what? It is a display that combines rigid and flexible OLED technology. For instance, a hybrid OLED panel would have a base of solid glass and a plastic top layer of flexible thin-film OLED. Due of their propensity to crumple, Apple does not wish to use only flexible OLED screens. This happens as a result of the heat generated when lasers are used to remove a glass substrate that was initially intended to be a component of a flexible OLED display.

The Elec (via AppleInsider) reports that Apple will use a hybrid OLED screen for the first iPad it makes with an OLED display, which will happen in a few years. Apple currently employs an LCD backlit panel it refers to as a “Liquid Retina” display on its tablets. The newest 12.9-inch iPad Pro is the only exception; it has a mini-LED backlit screen that Apple refers to as a “Liquid Retina XDR” display. One of the reasons Apple would likely employ hybrid OLED for the iPad is a concern about flexible “OLED panel crumple.”

Highlights

  • LG Display and Samsung Display are said to be working on an ultra-thin glass substrate for hybrid OLED panels. Replacing the current 5nm substrate with one measuring 2mm, the two companies are trying to reduce the thickness of hybrid OLED panels. The latest update reveals that the new technology is still at least one year away from being commercialized, but we are sure that Apple is closely monitoring the developments.

  • Apple touts the 12.9-inch iPad Pro’s mini-LED backlit display. Apple would also appreciate that hybrid OLED panels are thinner than rigid panels and should be less expensive to create than flexible panels, in addition to being less likely to collapse. For the iPhone right now, Apple uses flexible OLED displays. According to the article, if the problems (such as these panels’ inclination to crumple) can be fixed, Apple may decide to adopt flexible OLED panels for the iPad rather than hybrid ones.

Mini-LED backlit screens deliver some of the same features that users receive from OLED displays. The mini-LED displays use smaller LEDs as a backlight. Because of their smaller size, as much as 120 times smaller than the ones employed on traditional LCD screens, these panels have a larger number of LEDs behind the scenes. As a result, instead of the 72 LEDs used on the previous 12.9-inch iPad Pro model, there are 10,000 mini-LEDs used on the current model. They are arranged in four “dimming zones,” each with 2,500 mini-LEDs, to provide the super 1,000,000:1 contrast that these screens can offer.

The reason why Apple and other phone manufacturers can get away with using flexible OLED panels for their handsets without crumpling issues is because this flaw isn’t as noticeable on smaller screens like the ones used for smartphones. However, the crumpling is noticeable on larger displays like the ones used for the company’s iPad tablets. And that is one of the reasons why Apple would probably choose to use a hybrid OLED panel instead of a flexible one for future iPad models. Mini-LED displays give users some of the same features as OLED panels

As we just noted, the mini-LED displays offer a high contrast ratio and they are less likely to suffer burn-ins which lead to a permanent image seen on a screen. They also deliver deeper blacks and more true-to-life colors. Last year an Apple executive explained that the mini-LED panel might make the 11-inch iPad Pro too heavy which is why the technology was only used on the larger 12.9-inch variant.

Keep in mind that mini-LED panels are considered the next step in LCD display technology. So even if Apple were to use it for all of its iPad models, the company would probably continue working toward the ultimate goal of offering OLED-screened iPad models. Due to cost though, we’d expect Apple to offer such a feature first on the pricier 12.9-inch iPad Pro just like it is doing with mini-LED.

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