Over the past week, a number of new positions, the most recent today, have been advertised on the Apple jobs website looking for Engineers with experience in LED-backlighting and LCD displays. Broadly speaking, these new engineer positions are expected to contribute to the design, development and testing of completely novel and innovative display technologies ‘to be used in next generation Macintosh platforms spanning from notebook computers, desktop computers, servers and standalone displays‘.
These new positions should be considered in context with reports in July last year that Apple would be bringing IGZO display technology to both iPad and MacBook. The latest generation iPad Air was launched in November last year and was the first Apple device to contain the novel IGZO screen technology. With the latest job listings, it would seem that the company would now be at the stage of testing IGZO for the Mac.
IGZO (indium gallium zinc oxide) displays offer outstanding display quality but with significantly lower power consumption, and lower LED backlighting requirements. The most likely application for these type of displays is the MacBook line up, where the lower power requirements would translate to either substantially longer battery life, or lighter devices with smaller batteries.
In addition, and as alluded to in the job descriptions linked above, Apple could continue this application to the next generation Thunderbolt LED displays, which would be thinner and have much lower power requirements. This would be particularly important if Apple were to increase the resolution of these displays to meet Retina Display requirements, or more likely a 4K-standard resolution of either 4096 x 2160, or 3840 x 2160 pixels. Significantly greater LED backlighting would be required to power the increased number of pixels on the screen.
There have been no recent rumors suggesting that that Apple is working on a new version of the Thunderbolt display, but given that it hasn’t been updated in over two years, a new model would be welcomed. In addition, with Apple’s recent focus on dramatically improved battery life in the MacBook line, IZGO displays would offer an extremely functional continuation of this theme.