Apple’s Retina displays helped the iPhone and iPad reach new resolution limits and soon they might do even more with the help of quantum dots.
The US Patent and Trademark Office published four new patent applications from Apple that were first spotted by Patently Apple. The most interesting of these new documents describes using quantum dots in tandem with Apple’s microelectromechanical systems shutter control.
As noted in the patent, Quantum Dots may provide a way for enhancing the color gamut of displays. By replacing the regular LED phosphor, which often leaks out too much light and washes out colors, with quantum dots the screen can emit a much narrower and more specific spectrums of light.
Without getting into the scientific minutiae of nanocrystals, a quantum dot display, if used, would create richer and more accurate colors.
It’s all about the backlight
Besides improving color, the other two patents suggest fine tuning the backlight with quantum dots. More accurately, a dot laden backlight sub-stack would produce a module with a mix of prisms, diffusers and light guides. Despite the added items it could be both thinner and more accurate.
Finally a backlight dimming invention would fine-tune the enhanced backlight system using a stack of red, blue, and green quantum dot sheets to correct for any LED color shift.
Poppycock you say?
Before you blow off the concept as patent pipe dreams, quantum dot technology is already being used in the Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 7.
When Apple first introduced the Retina display powered iPhone 4 it blew everything out of the water. Since then, though, other device makers have been catching up with 1080p capable smartphones and even higher resolution 4K tablets like the Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2.
It seems now Apple is looking into newer technologies to put its Retina display back on top and better color accuracy could be the edge it needs. But this is a space other device manufacturers like Samsung have managed to do the same using OLED screens on the Galaxy Note 3.
- How do Retina displays look right now? Find out in our review of the iPad Air.