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Apple will adopt OLED displays with low-power LPTO backplane technology for at least two iPhone models in 2021, according to Korean website The Elec.

apple_iphone-12_super-retina-xdr-display_10132020.jpg

From the report:
LG Display will expand the production rate of its organic light emitting diode (OLED) panel factory lines dedicated to Apple, TheElec has learned.

LG Display is planning to put in low-temperature polycrystalline oxide (LPTO) thin-film transistors (TFT) equipment that can add 25,000 substrates per month in monthly production rate into the lines by next year.

The LTPO equipment being placed in the factory lines will be for OLED panel supply to iPhone next year, while the ones after May will likely be for panels for iPhones of 2022.
LTPO technology would result in a more power efficient backplane, which is responsible for turning individual pixels on and off on the display. The technology could pave the way for longer battery life and/or new features like ProMotion or always-on display elements.

Display analyst Ross Young believes that LTPO is essential if Apple plans to support ProMotion in a future iPhone, as it would allow for a variable refresh as low as 1Hz when the device is inactive in order to optimize battery life. ProMotion allows for a variable refresh rate of up to 120Hz for smoother motion content and greater responsiveness. The feature debuted on the iPad Pro in 2017. There were rumors that some iPhone 12 models could feature ProMotion, but that never came to pass, possibly due to battery life concerns.

Apple Watch Series 5 and Series 6 models already use LTPO displays, which enables them to have the same up-to-18-hour battery life as earlier Apple Watch models despite having an always-on display. The Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra and Z Fold 2 were the first smartphones with high refresh rate OLED displays that support adaptively changing the refresh rate.

According to the report, Apple will use LTPO technology for the two higher-tier iPhone models out of the four that it plans to launch in 2021. Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo expects Apple to release its "iPhone 13" lineup next year in four same-size models as the iPhone 12 series.

Article Link: Report: 'iPhone 13 Pro' Models to Feature Low-Power LPTO Display Technology
 
Last edited:

The Game 161

macrumors Penryn
Dec 15, 2010
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LTPO is needed really for maximum battery life with LTPO. Works very well on the Apple Watch and fold 2 for one which also has this tech
 
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JulianL

macrumors 65816
Feb 2, 2010
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This is exciting if the rumour is true. Only 2 models for 2021 though. I would have thought that like the original OLED roll-out Apple would start with the top Pro models for 2021 but there is no guarantee of that. If Apple is nervous about yields on bigger screens then maybe not the Pros but it would be so odd for a smaller phone to have a premium feature (ProMotion) and the Pro models not to have it that if that were the case I would think that Apple would delay the whole roll out for a year to make sure it could deliver LPTO for the biggest Pro screens.

Does anyone have any numbers on this LPTO stuff? When they say more efficient what sort of reduction in power consumption are they talking about vs OLED at the same brightness for various screen states (e.g. worst case all white and maybe 25% and 50% white pixels against black background). I guess this stuff is a bit difficult to compare given how both OLED and LPTO power consumption varies based on screen content.

As someone who spends many hours reading ebooks on my phone the talk of refresh rates as low as 1Hz sounds interesting. I really hope that regular apps that display mostly static content are able to drop down to really low refresh rates because that would be ideal for my Kindle reading. I already have it set to white text on black background to get maximum power savings from the OLED screen but if it could also drop to a really low refresh rate for everything except when I turn a page I would hope that would get me many more hours of ebook screen-on time from a single charge.

I think I also read somewhere that LPTO backplanes are thinner than regular OLED ones so the display panel gets a bit thinner. Is that correct? If so then as long as Apple doesn't use that to make the phones even thinner next year (please no, the camera bump is already getting more and more prominent as the body gets thinner) that could also allow slightly bigger battery capacities next year. And it looks pretty definite that Apple will move to the Qualcomm 5nm X60 modem which should be another significant power saving.

Yes, 2021 will almost certainly be a sort of "s" upgrade since it will probably be improved components in an identical form factor but with some of these rumours the 2021 phones actually look to be shaping up to be pretty worthwhile upgrades.
 
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and 1989 others

macrumors 6502
Sep 21, 2016
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Can anybody explain what has happened to R+D in batteries? We seem to be making leaps in screen tech, camera tech, 5G, manufacturing et al. But batteries are still a shocking mess.

In my naive world after a decade of the iphone and the mass adoption of the smart phone in general, I would expect this tech to give at least a 3 day battery life with use.
 
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bobmans

macrumors 6502
Feb 7, 2020
495
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Can anybody explain what has happened to R+D in batteries? We seem to be making leaps in screen tech, camera tech, 5G, manufacturing et al. But batteries are still a shocking mess.

In my naive world after a decade of the iphone and the mass adoption of the smart phone in general, I would expect this tech to give at least a 3 day battery life with use.
I think the biggest problem with new battery technologies is getting them out of the lab and into production. There's so many battery technologies that are promising in the lab, but how do you get them out of the lab and into mass production?
I don't think we're going to see any big leaps in battery life if we don't transition away from the current Li-ion battery technology. The first couple of phones to have some kind of new battery technology also probably won't be a mass produced (as in millions of units) phone, but some premium phone that's produced in relatively low amount of units.
 
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