Apple is reportedly exploring color E Ink display technology for use as a second screen on a foldable smartphone

Apple is reportedly exploring color E Ink display technology for use as a second screen on a foldable smartphone

Tech Highlights:

  • Back in February, both display analyst Ross Young and Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman referenced a 20-inch folding MacBook/iPad design apparently in development. What Kuo seems to be suggesting is that e-ink would serve as the outward-facing display, providing a low-power accessory screen experience for users, who want to get some utility out of their foldable without having to unfold it. The choice of e-ink would be an interesting deviation from the direction of the Android foldable market.

  • Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claims that the company is investigating the usage of colour e-ink screens in future devices. Color e-ink, according to Kuo, is especially well suited to allowing a low-power second screen experience for a foldable form factor device. Of course, Apple does not currently manufacture a foldable device, however reports persist that the firm is contemplating ideas for a folding iPad.

For instance, the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold features a 6.2-inch AMOLED cover display, which makes the device look almost like a standard phone in closed operation. The user can unfold the device to reveal the flexible 7.6-inch main screen inside. An e-ink display would not be appropriate for this design. However, the Galaxy Z Flip features a very small 1.9-inch OLED cover screen, which acts as a simple readout for the time and notifications display. This could easily be imagined as a color e-ink surface though, extending battery life significantly as e-ink do not consume power for static content. The significantly lower refresh rate of e-ink panels, compared to OLED or LCD, does not matter too much in this context either.

This use case is closer to what Kuo describes; e-ink / e-paper could become the mainstream choice for these outer accessory displays. Of course, Apple’s plans could change it any time and anything beyond the idea that they are exploring and testing the technology would be mere speculation at this point.

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