2014’s MacBook Pros Could Get 24 Hour Battery Life Thanks To IGZO Displays

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We’ve been hearing for years now about Apple’s never-quite-realized intentions to ship devices featuring Sharp IGZO displays. Now a new report says they’re coming to the 2014 MacBook line.

IGZO displays are cool technology. In a simplistic description, every LCD panel is made up of a bunch of pixels, and behind those pixels, there’s a mesh of wires connecting them together, and then a backlight. Usually, a backlight has to shine through that mesh to light up the pixels, which results in wasted light and battery power. But IGZO is a way to allow more light to shine through that mesh, resulting in lower power requirements and longer battery life.

Sounds great, right? Thinner devices with better battery life would result, because most of a device’s battery life is sucked up by the screen.

According to new Korean reports, Sharp is looking to supply both MacBook and iPad-sized IGZO panels to Apple, with LG Display joining the supply chain to help out, with the company upgrading its existing AMOLED and LCD lines to be compatible with IGZO manufacturing.

If this rumor pans out, it’s great news. Imagine Haswell Retina MacBook Pros with IGZO displays. That’s not just 12 hour battery life: if Haswell MacBook Pros can do to the 2014 models’ battery life what it did to 2013’s MacBook Airs, and if IGZO can cut the Retina display power draw in half, that’s potentially 24 hours of battery life.

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  • Gadget

    I’m sure Apple will gobble up all production of IGZO displays for the next 3 years just like they did with the iPAD when it came out and nobody could compete.

  • p8blr

    I really hope they leave LG out of it. Nothing but problems in the RMBPs

  • CharilaosMulder

    how are AMOLED and IGZO related? AMOLED has no backlight that has to shine through the mesh

  • liam go

    if these IGZO panels are to be used in an iPad, that would mean that it would be “retina” level for that device. Would that not also be the case if a similar IGZO panel might be used in the Air? Under that scenario, you may not get 24 hr life, but you might be able to match the battery life of the just updated Haswell based Air model, while finally bringing “retina” to the model.

  • melgross

    Realistically, more like 15-16. An x86 machine has power requirements that are as large, or larger than that of the display. So using IGZO won’t double the battery life, but give an extra few hours, if handled right.

    On an iOS device, the story is different. There, the display, or rather the backlight, has a much larger percentage of the battery’s output, and we could see, potentially, a much larger savings there. If Apple decided to devote all of that to battery life, it could increase by a good 50%, but not 100%.

    I’ve read the technical papers on this technology.

    Let’s not get away with ourselves please.

  • melgross

    how are AMOLED and IGZO related? AMOLED has no backlight that has to shine through the mesh

    No relationship whatsoever.

  • Amr Khalifa

    It’s nice how the author just makes up the number 24 from his head then puts it in his headline. Very credible!

About the author

John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is a Contributing Editor. He has also written for Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, VentureBeat, and Gizmodo. He lives in Boston with his girlfriend and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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