Does Apple actually design the "retina" display?

Discussion in 'iPad' started by MythicFrost, Mar 20, 2012.

  1. MythicFrost macrumors 68040


    Mar 11, 2009
    So, I'm curious. Do they actually design the "retina" display and then get Samsung or a similar company to produce the design? Or are they simply using someone else's design?

    Similar question regarding color gamut too, do they have any part in it or are they just using a better display?
  2. mgipe macrumors demi-god


    Oct 6, 2009
    Not likely. Samsung, LG, and Sharp (among others) have extensive R&D in LCD displays. Most likely they build a display that they designed to meet Apple's requirements.
  3. MythicFrost thread starter macrumors 68040


    Mar 11, 2009
    Mmm, I see. I notice in Apple's videos that they imply that they were involved, wouldn't that get them sued?
    (Scroll down until you see the "break through" video -- they talk about them having to separate the signals and the subpixels by shifting the latter up on a slightly higher plane, or something like that.)
  4. justin17 macrumors newbie

    Aug 13, 2010

    They might have only been involved by throwing money at the project that Samsung did all the work with.
  5. MythicFrost thread starter macrumors 68040


    Mar 11, 2009
    Ah right, I see. Wish we could know somehow for sure :p
  6. Jackintosh macrumors 6502a


    Mar 21, 2009
    If Samsung or Sharp have the wherewithall and technology in their own hands to build retina for Apple, why didn't they use this technology for their own products, i.e., Samsung tablet?
  7. justin17 macrumors newbie

    Aug 13, 2010
    Apple could have paid to have an exclusive product developed. It happens all the time.
  8. screensaver400 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 28, 2005
    Yeah, companies can set up firewalls between different departments. The Samsung that manufactures Apple's processors and screens is completely separate from the Samsung that makes the Galaxy line. In fact, the Galaxy people probably "order" components from the processor/screen people in a very similar way to how Apple does.

    As a condition of awarding the contract, Apple probably demanded a set period of exclusivity for the Retina display and the underlying technologies developed at Apple's expense. Look at Samsung as an Apple subcontractor here.
  9. Jackintosh macrumors 6502a


    Mar 21, 2009
    Yeah, I think you guys are right. But I'm sure that Samsung took a quick, sly peek at the retina technology to see what it's all about in planning their own future versions.
  10. rdy0329 macrumors 6502

    Mar 20, 2012
    Mre or Less

    I think they know the display tech already. Its just the amount being produced today can only cate to the new iPads' demand. Besides, Samsung like to use other display technology such as OLEDs because demand for it is considerably less (for now)
  11. mattwestside macrumors member

    Sep 3, 2009
    Samsung's PLS IPS display tech is pretty cool - I have it on my GTab 8.9. It's LCD but with excellent viewing angles and little-to-no color shift. It doesn't hold a candle to the iPad's retina display in terms of resolution, however I find off-viewing angles on the iPad cause brightness and color shift - something I hadn't experienced to this degree before on IPS displays.
  12. smallnshort247 macrumors 6502a


    Oct 23, 2010
    I dont know what quality screens Samsung uses but if they build it, it seems like they should also put it in their products too.
  13. SirithX macrumors 6502


    Feb 21, 2007
    San Francisco
    Not that simple, as someone else already said, the different departments are very different from each other, the Samsung Galaxy people would have to order from the component people the displays for the phones. They act very independently of each other, in a way they are basically independent companies, just operate under one umbrella.

    Apple probably has companies bid to be component providers for Apple products, where they have to bid against other companies for "exclusive" rights. In the case of the retina display, both Samsung and Sharp, who have the factories and ability to build the displays to Apple's specifications of course, "won" the bidding and provide the displays for Apple's products. In return for the huge amount of business they get from Apple, it also has other stipulations, like probably their stock of the retina display at that size and/or density is completely taken by Apple until mid/late this year due to the high volumes ordered (even if the iPad doesn't sell to projections somehow, deals such as this example still happens as a business move in many cases), so they couldn't even put it in their own products until then if they wanted to.
  14. Fernandez21 macrumors 601


    Jun 16, 2010
    My understanding is that it's a little of both, but you can correct me if im wrong Apple goes to the display manufacturers and gives the spec., and they then figure out a way to develope and manufacture said displays and sell them to apple. Since the tech is really new the r&d costs are set for the initial orders which all go to apple since they are ordering so many. After the r&d costs are recovered, they can then lower the price and start selling it out to whomever wants it, including samsungs phone division. But because apple is ordering so many, they have to lower the price per unit so much to get the contract it takes them longer to recoup those costs than normal, so it creates an artificial exclusivity period for apple.
  15. EarlZ macrumors regular

    Mar 14, 2012
    and then samsung 'improves' the screen tech and slaps in the PLS name and puts it on the latest tablets ;)
  16. Pressure macrumors 68040


    May 30, 2006
    The iPad has an In-Plane Switching Display ... It doesn't shift colors from odd viewing angles.
  17. homeboy macrumors 6502

    Aug 23, 2007
    Because they wouldn't make any money from it. The consumer electronic industry always produce products that are profitable at a price consumers can meet, as oppossed to producing the most superior products that will sell at a loss.

    This is why a high-end HiFi system from a niche brand like NAD purscahsed in the 80s sound better than what ever Sony and Panasonic are selling in the stores today. What you see in the stores have had its conception evolve around price, cost and profitability. Everything else comes second.
  18. Haziza macrumors member


    Jun 23, 2010
    I'm sure some Apple engineers worked with Samsung on that display.
  19. bp1000 macrumors 65816

    Jul 7, 2011
    I was pretty sure Samsung, toshiba, sharp etc were just the donkeys building the components to specification. I was led to believe apple designed this display with quite a unique method. Once a working prototype was built they sent the spec off for mass manufacturing. Bit like what they do with the Ax chips.

    Coming up with a new technology, spec and design is a completely different field to production line manufacturing.
  20. iapplelove macrumors 601


    Nov 22, 2011
    East Coast USA
    I'm pretty sure this!

    Apple designs the screens with the specs they need in mind then seek a manufactur who can replicate the same specs with the quality while being able to mass produce.

    That's why LG failed at thier first attempt of mass manufacturing a retina screen with apples specs
  21. mattwestside macrumors member

    Sep 3, 2009
    I found the brightness shifted quite a bit at off-viewing angles on the new iPad's display, compared to the iPad2 and Samsung Galaxy Tabs. In fact I found that even tilting the new iPad even slightly off angle changed the brightness more than I expected - and therefore affected the color and sharpness of the screen.
  22. whtrbt7 macrumors 65816

    Jun 8, 2011
    OK so here's what happened:

    1. Apple normally procures components with cash over the year in order to produce their products.

    2. Apple approached Sharp, LG, and Samsung. This was a move in order to remove dependence on a single provider: Samsung.

    3. Apple put a bounty on producing the screen that they desired. They wanted a 9.7 inch IPS LCD with side mounted LEDs and with a pixel depth close to 300dpi and a depth of close to 5mm all costing about USD$150-200(maybe less).

    4. Sharp, LG, and Samsung start coming up with ideas on how to make such a display. Side mounting the LEDs save money as well as producing an IPS LCD which is higher in quality than standard LCDs while still having existing equipment to make these IPS LCDs.

    5. Sharp, LG, and Samsung have issues producing these screens, not to mention at cost. Apple steps in to help brainstorm. How to get the pixel depth we need without blowing out our costs? Apple and Sharp engineers have an idea. They suggest building the LCD raised above the control layer so there are no more electrical interference problems. Production can start.

    6. Samsung has their facilities tooled first so they start production about 1-2 months before launch. Sharp and LG are waiting to tool up by April 2012. Apple gets the screens at the right time by balancing a tech they already know, fast production techniques from the manufacturers, and technical IP to make these screens that are by no means superior in technology.

    7. The rest is history.
  23. mac jones macrumors 68040

    Apr 6, 2006

    I think they drew up specs, and then the others bid for the work.

    There may also have been a claus in it about exclusivity, as it begs the question why others haven't used this tech themselves.

    I think perhaps the reason Samsung didn't go-for-it themselves, was Apple could put in such a huge order for a single year, thus absolutely ensuring success. If Samsung produced these and they didn't sell.......:eek:

    But I don't know. Just guessing.

    update: Yikes! like 6 people posted the answer while I was writing, making me look look like a dummy. Thanks guys :D
  24. thewitt macrumors 68020


    Sep 13, 2011
    These designs are done in concert with the supplier. Apple engineers work with supplier engineers and a design goal. It's very common, and the product itself most likely belongs to Apple, not the individual manufacturers.

    They certainly did not call Samsung and order a retina display.
  25. redman042 macrumors 68030


    Jun 13, 2008
    My guess is that Apple doesn't design LCD displays but has engineers knowledgeable enough to work closely with manufacturers to get a design in place and certify that it can be produced in volume to their specifications.

    Then Apple has to design a tablet that supports this screen, including the chips to drive it and the battery to power it. Apple also has the cash, manufacturer relationships, and volume sales needed to make a screen like this feasible for a shipping product.

    So Apple had a huge role in making this possible, but I believe they do rely heavily on Samsung and others to design the screen itself.

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