Will the next MacBook Pro refresh sport a 4K display, one 4,000-ish pixels wide? If Apple wants to ensure that its flagship laptop does indeed feature such a massive resolution screen, Sharp has just the LCD it needs.
The panel pusher today said it is sending out samples of a 15.6-inch display with a 3840 × 2160 pixel resolution - 282 dots per inch, in other words. The “Retina display” MacBook Pro has a 15.4-inch screen with a 220dpi resolution.
The beta-test screen uses Sharp’s IGZO technology - IGZO being short for Indium Gallium Zinc Oxide. IGZO is an alternative to the amorphous silicon used to make the transistors embedded in most current LCD panels. Electrons can move more freely in an IGZO circuit than an amorphous silicon one.
The upshot: displays made of IGZO transistors don’t have to be as thick as regular LCDs, allowing more light from the backlight to pass through, allowing you to fit a less bright and less power hungry backlight than traditional LCDs need.
IGZO transistors can change state faster and don’t need as much power as conventional LCD components to maintain a static image, either.
So far only pre-production samples are available, but Sharp said it expects to begin rolling the screens off the lines en mass at its Kameyama Plant No. 2 from February 2014.
Sharp has had more than its fair share of troubles of late and was last year forced to seek financial assistance from Taiwanese contract manufacturer Foxconn, which just so happens to be one of Apple’s key suppliers, though primarily for iDevices. Foxconn spent $800 million earlier this year on a 9.9 per cent stake in Sharp’s LCD factories.
Apple’s arch-rival Samsung has a three per cent stake in the company too. ®