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Friday April 8, 2011 4:01 pm

Apple working on hybrid E-Ink LCD display?

Posted by Andru Edwards Categories: Apple, Displays, Rumors

Apple e-ink hybrid lcd

One of the features Amazon champions on its Kindle e-reader is the black-and-white E Ink screen, which puts less stress on the eye than the iPad or iPhone's LCD screen. A recent patent application, however, suggests that Apple is looking to produce a device with a hybrid E Ink-LCD screen.

Not only that, Apple's hybrid screen might have the ability to split into quadrants, with some segments displaying images via LCD and others displaying via E Ink. That, according to Patently Apple "would work very nicely with Apple's proposed use of Spaces on future iOS devices."

Specifically, Apple's patent covers a system for switching between an electronic paper display and a video display based on visual content.

"Based on the one or more features, the control circuitry could selectively enable the device's electronic paper display or the device's video display," Patently Apple said.

In some cases, the displays might be stacked vertically, with the e-paper display over the video display or vice versa. "For example, if an electronic paper display is stacked over a video display and the video display is selectively enabled, the electronic display may direct the electronic paper display to configure itself into a translucent state so that the video display is visible," Patently Apple wrote.

Apple said the e-paper display will include individual microcapsules that contain particles of different colors; white and black particles suspended in a fluid, for example. Particles might be configured by applying a charge to the microcapsule.

In images with the patent application, the "Hybrid Display" option would show up on the iPhone much like any other settings menu. The drawing shows "Electronic Paper Display" with the standard iOS "On/Off" switch and "Video Display" beneath it. There are also options to "Independently Switch Regions," "Based on Rate of Change," or "Based on Color Composition."

The patent was originally filed in the fourth quarter of 2009, according to Patently Apple.

Also this week, the blog uncovered a patent for a smart bezel that would make use of the area around the main screen.

"Apple intends to use the secondary display to introduce a set of new illuminated indicators that are able [to] morph into various controls for work and play," Patently Apple said. "Illuminated gaming and productivity controls could be built into the face-side of the bezel and/or selected back-side areas of iOS devices like the iPad."

This article, written by Chloe Albanesius, originally appeared on PCMag.com and is republished on Gear Live with the permission of Ziff Davis, Inc.

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