Mini LEDs Are Coming To Apple

Apple is always up to something new. Though some feel that the tech giant’s most innovative days may be behind it, there are really more new ideas and products than one might realize upon first thought. In just the last few years, we’ve seen Apple help to unveil mobile AR to the world, and bring Super Mario games to mobile platforms; we saw the unveiling of Apple Arcade; and we’ve seen strong rumors about a forthcoming set of AR glasses that could well become another mainstream consumer device. Recently, we even asked if Apple could “Launch The Best Gaming Console” — which is another potential development that people seem to be considering more and more.

So, even if we may not have seen a major iPhone, Apple, or MacBook design update in recent years, it’s fair to say that the company is still trying new things and advancing its technology. And as part of that effort, we’ve learned in recent months that Apple may be making a fairly significant update to some of its core devices. Specifically, the company is exploring mini-LED display technology. Evertiq’s report on mini-LEDs suggests that these new displays will be used in both iPad and MacBook devices (though we aren’t sure about phones just yet).

These new displays are said to be made possible in part by new, ultra-thin printed circuit boards that can support the necessary transfer technology and take up less space. An Altium piece about PCB board thickness indicates the various ways in which modern circuit boards can be built to suit different needs — including with “multi-layer HDI” designs that essentially pack more capability into a smaller space. In the case of Apple’s forthcoming mini-LED screens, this sort of high-density design will be used to produce thin, rigid PCBs that enable a whole new type of display.

What this display will actually look like remains to be seen. But the idea is actually pretty simple. Per 9to5Mac’s article on iPads and MacBooks in light of the mini-LED news, the displays will simply be comprised of more. With a traditional LED-backlit display (like the LCD screens we’re used to on many modern devices), there can be hundreds of individual LEDs in place. With a mini-LED display, a device can feature “over a thousand full array local dimming zones.” This, as the article explains, can lead to a higher contrast ratio, greater brightness, deeper blacks, and more efficient power usage — as well as less burn-in potential than we see with OLED screens.

Those benefits could result in a fairly meaningful step forward for Apple. Improved PCBs and redesigned displays are internal changes that consumers may not get as excited about, or even fully understand. But by the sound of things, they could lead to significantly sharper displays on our everyday Apple devices.

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