DisplayMate tablet shootout puts Retina iPad Mini in last place, with ‘out-dated technology’

displaymate

DisplayMate, a company specializing in scientific display testing and calibration, gave the Retina iPad Mini third place in detailed lab tests of three leading 7-inch tablets, criticising Apple for “really bad planning” for what it considers to be out-dated display technology.

And finally… the iPad mini with Retina Display unfortunately comes in with a distant 3rd place finish behind the innovative displays on the Kindle Fire HDX 7 and new Nexus 7 [...]

All of this reliance on IGZO is really bad planning… Right now there is a readily available display technology that has much higher performance than IGZO. It’s Low Temperature Poly Silicon LTPS, and it is used in all of the iPhones and in all of Samsung OLEDs (so it’s available in large quantities). Two innovative tablet manufacturers, Amazon and Google, have significantly leapfrogged Apple by introducing Tablet displays using LTPS (in the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 and the new Nexus 7), and they are significantly outperforming the IGZO and a-Si displays in the current iPads. Apple is now lagging in displays, an area where it was once the leader…  Read more

iFixit iMac teardown reveals dual mics, difficult RAM upgrades and glued LCD

21.5 iMac teardown late 2012

While we had some pictures of a brief teardown earlier this week, iFixit has now completed its ritual teardown of the new 21.5-inch iMac that officially went on sale on Friday.

Unfortunately, iFixit described the process as an “exercise in disappointment,” noting the iMac’s new thinner design introduces new hurdles for repairability. Most notably, the device’s glass and LCD are now glued directly to the iMac’s frame, while accessing the RAM, CPU, and hard drive will now mean having to remove the entire logic board:

The late 2012 iMac 21.5″ — code-named EMC 2544 — is an exercise in disappointment for us. We were quite worried when we saw that super-thin bezel during Apple’s keynote, and unfortunately we were correct: the glass and LCD are now glued to the iMac’s frame with incredibly strong adhesive. Gone are the lovely magnets that held the glass in place in iMacs of yesteryear.

A few things noted in iFixit’s highlights: a new rubber housing that “dampens the vibrations from the spinning hard drive,” a new single fan layout, dual microphones, and a 5mm thinner LG made display. Those are some of the highlights of Apple’s new design, but iFixit is scoring the new iMac as a 3 out of 10 (down from 7 last year) due to the many issues with repairability. Here are just a few:

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Purported iPad mini displays and more batteries spotted [Gallery]

Smartphone parts supplier ETrade Supply just posted alleged leaked OEM parts of the iPad mini’s nearly 8-inch LCD screen and 4490mAh battery.

Apple’s much-discussed iPad mini is set to unveil at the company’s media event next Tuesday, and today’s parts pictures possibly confirm earlier reports and give a sneak peak as to what to expect from the folks in Cupertino.

The device’s display is “about 162mm in length and 124mm in width,” according to ETrade Supply, with a ratio of 4:3. Labeling on the back also indicates LG Display manufactures the part.

Image gallery is below.

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Sharp announces first IGZO 7-inch tablet, claims battery life increased over 2X with new tech rumored for Apple’s mini iPad

We heard reports in the past that Apple passed on Sharp’s IGZO display tech for the third-generation iPad due to Sharp not having the tech ready in time. Going with Sharp’s IGZO tech would have allowed for a thinner display assembly, a brighter display with less LEDs, and the ability to use a smaller battery or extend battery life specs as a result. It could have also helped shave off some of the increased weight and depth of the new iPad. These are all things we witnessed first hand when we got up close and personal with a few IGZO demos at IFA this year.  Sharp is announcing today its first 7-inch tablet to use the display technology, claiming the 1,280-by-800 IGZO display allows for 2.5 times the battery life from the tablet’s 2,040mAh battery (via ComputerWorld).

With the iPad mini launch coming later this month, it is a possibility the tech is finally ready for Apple to take advantage. Sharp also has 10-inch and 13-inch variants of the IGZO displays, but the 7-inch would of course make a lot of sense for iPad mini given what we already know about the device. Apple’s ability to increase battery life, or simply have the ability to use a smaller battery (in a smaller form factor) while maintaining battery life specs, is just one benefit. Another big benefit for Apple would be narrow borders: rumor has it—which is something we also talked about a lot in the past—the iPad mini will have a much narrower border than previous-generation iPads. Sharp told us its IGZO LCDs can be built with a bezel under 2mm, and it was showing off a demo display with a 1.75mm border at IFA. That would definitely fit the bill for the narrow-border, one-handed experience we expect from iPad mini. Read more

‘iPhone 5′ 1136×640 LCD screen, digitizer set can be yours for $199

I think it is safe to say we are seeing an unprecedented number of upcoming iPhone parts from the supply chain this time around and one of the few remaining parts yet pictured not only started showing up over the weekend…it is also on sale. For $199, you can pick up (update: out of stock) the “iPhone 5″ LCD Screen complete with digitizer assembly. The part looks to be a taller 1,136-by-640-pixel display but obviously, “buyers beware.”

UbreakIfix relayed by MacRumors posted the first images of the new iPhone display over the weekend. Perhaps it purchased the display from ChinaGadgetLand—the parts look very similar.

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The ChinaGadgetLand description reads:

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iFixit posts repair guide for Retina MacBook Pro, estimates battery replacement at $500

You might remember a couple months ago when our friends at iFixit tore down the new Retina MacBook Pro. Unfortunately, the device received its lowest repairability score with the company calling it “the least repairable laptop”. While the new MacBooks provide possibly Apple’s least accessible and upgradeable design out of the box, iFixit updated its website today with its official 2012 MacBook Pro Retina repair guide to make it as easy as possible. Fifteen separate installation guides for the AirPort Board, battery, fans, logic board, speakers, SSD, trackpad, etc., are included in the repair guide with one maintenance guide for reapplying thermal paste to the CPU and GPU.

Many components within the laptop can be removed without much fuss, provided folks use the correct tools. Pentalobe screws hold the lower case in place and Torx screws secure everything else. Spudgers and plastic opening tools are absolutely necessary, as many of the components are designed with such tight tolerances that using fingertips is simply not an option.

Fair warning: working on the laptop is no easy task. Some repairs are simply infeasible. For example, there is no way to replace the trackpad without removing the battery. And while it’s possible to remove the battery, chances are high that it will be punctured in the process. Puncturing Lithium-polymer batteries releases noxious fumes and can cause fires. Additionally, removing the LCD glass from the aluminum frame will almost certainly break the glass. So components residing under the LCD — such as the FaceTime camera — will have to be replaced with the entire assembly… Finding replacements for the machine’s proprietary components is currently difficult. We’re working to source parts, but it may take some time.

iFixit also estimated that third-party battery replacements —if done correctly— could cost over $500:

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iFixit: MacBook Pro’s amazing Retina Display is made by LG Philips

[Image credit: iFixit]

We covered iFixit’s Retina Display teardown this morning, but the report left out one very important detail: Who makes the display? There had been some discussion by DisplayMate’s Raymond Soneira on whether Sharp’s IGZO display technology was used:

An IGZO Retina Display? Traditional high PPI displays (with amorphous Silicon) are inefficient with both brightness and power. As a result, the new iPad 3 with a Retina Display needs a 70 percent larger battery than the non-Retina Display iPad 2, but the MacBook Pro with Retina Display has only a 23 percent larger battery with the same 7 hour running time as the non-Retina Display MacBook Pro. How can this be? You may recall that IGZO technology has been making headlines for months, first rumored to be the technology used in the Retina Display for the new iPad 3. IGZO is significantly more efficient than amorphous Silicon. It wasn’t ready in time for the new iPad 3, but Sharp announced that production of IGZO LCDs with up to 300 PPI started in March of 2012… Just in time for the MacBook Pro… These facts lead me to speculate that the MacBook Pro is using a Sharp IGZO Retina Display…

Apple, Sharp, and Foxconn are rumored to be working together on something bigger as well.

Nope… Read more

iFixit tears down the new MacBook Pro’s Retina display, an ‘engineering marvel’

They first took apart the new Retina MacBook Pro and called it the “least repairable laptop” ever, but today our friends at iFixit took apart the device’s most impressive new component: its Retina Display. Here is what they found:

The Retina display is an engineering marvel. Its LCD is essentially the entire display assembly. Rather than sandwich an LCD panel between a back case and a piece of glass in front, Apple used the aluminum case itself as the frame for the LCD panel and used the LCD as the front glass. They’ve managed to pack five times as many pixels as the last model in a display that’s actually a fraction of a millimeter thinner. And since there’s no front glass, glare is much less of an issue.

The major downside to the design noted in the report: the LCD is not replaceable. It is attached to the entire assembly, so this means you will likely have to replace the entire assembly if something goes wrong. It also noted that getting into the display is quite difficult, claiming, “Obliterating the front panel of the display was the only way to get it out.” Some highlights:

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Often-rumored Apple partner Sharp announces production of Hi-DPI IGZO LCD displays


32-inch iMac or TV? We’ll take both!

Sharp revealed today that it began assembling high-performance LCDs last month with increased production in April to meet market demand.

Jefferies & Co.’s Peter Misek is a very outspoken analyst regarding Apple’s rumored HDTV. He first claimed in November that Sharp is preparing production lines for the “iTV,” but he later said the company plans to build roughly 5 million units beginning this spring with a product launch slated for Q4 2012.

According to Sharp, the LCDs will help the company contribute to “creating markets for attractive new products”:

Sharp will encourage the application of its new high-resolution LCD panels to high-definition notebook PCs and LCD monitors—which are both expected to grow in demand—as well as to mobile devices. Sharp will also contribute to creating markets for attractive new products.

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If Apple chose to move to OLED, Samsung now has the numbers. Quality still a consideration.

The Korea Times reports that Apple may consider moving its displays over to OLED from LCD. Samsung, Apple’s biggest display provider, is ramping up OLED production to the point where it could meet Apple’s demand numbers.

Thanks to the increased volume, chances have been raised to ship Samsung’s OLEDs for Apple’s iPads and even iPhones, said unnamed Samsung executives on the condition of anonymity.

`So far, Apple has questions over an output commitment and product volume as Samsung’s OLED business isn’t on full track. But chances have risen to break the wall,’’ said one Samsung executive.

Apple is Samsung’s biggest customer, buying $7.8 billion of components such as memory chips and LCDs in 2011. This year, it will buy around $11 billion of Samsung parts despite the deepening legal battle between the two companies.

Apple is using LCDs in most of its i-branded products. It’s known that Apple previously denied Samsung’s offer to use OLEDs as the American firm believes OLEDs have some “technological problems.’’

Apple spokesman Steve Park declined to comment.

I am sure Apple’s display requirements are not just demand-based. Those “technical problems” mentioned above likely include “Retina”-type pixel density resolutions and similar color accuracy of LCD. While OLED displays are often impressive to look at, sometimes they are oversaturated in color. Moreover, I have never heard of a model that nears 300PPI.

(Samsung Flexible Super AMOLED Display Pictured) Read more

New patent details Apple’s work with high refresh rate LCD technology HDTVs

A ton of recent rumors all but confirm Apple plans to enter the TV market with a full-fledged Apple-branded HDTV, but today a patent published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office details an advancement of high refresh rate LCD technology known as “fringe field switching.” As described by PatentlyApple, Apple’s patent offers advancements in the technology that would allow FFS for use with large screen HDTVs. The report noted, “Previous versions of FSS couldn’t accommodate such large displays.” PatentlyApple explained:

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Actual iPad 3 production display placed under microscope, Retina Display confirmed

Macrumors claimed to have obtained one of the screens floating around on the Internet from iPad 3 production. Putting it under a microscope, the publication indeed discovered it has 4 times the pixels as an iPad 2 or double the horizontal and double the vertical, which yields 2,048-by-1,536 pixels.

Physically, the purported iPad 3 display is the same size as the current iPad 1 and iPad 2 display at 9.7″ in diagonal, and looks quite similar to the naked eye.

However, when comparing the iPad 3 display to one from an iPad 2 under a microscope, the difference in resolutions becomes readily apparent, with the iPad 3 display’s pixels appearing to be one-quarter the size of those on the iPad 2.

We are just a few weeks away from the anticipated March 7 announcement. While the Retina display was expected for some time, there might still be some surprises.

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