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iPhone 16 OLED Panels May Use Micro-Lens Technology to Improve Power Efficiency

iPhone 16 OLED Panels May Use Micro-Lens Technology to Improve Power Efficiency Apple is weighing up the use of micro-lens technology to maintain the brightness of OLED displays on next year's iPhone 16 models while reducing their power consumption, reports The Elec.

According to the Korean outlet, Apple display suppliers Samsung and LG have offered to apply micro-lens arrays (MLA) to the OLED panels, but the technology has both pros and cons that Apple needs to consider.

MLA turns the path of light reflected backwards from the inside of the panel towards the screen, which can increase perceived brightness while reducing power consumption compared to conventional OLED panels at the same luminance.

However, while MLA straightens the path of light to increase frontal luminance, it also reduces side luminance, which from a user perspective narrows the display's field of view. Not only that, applying MLA to the OLED panels would increase the manufacturing cost.

Another complicating factor is that the material sets being developed by the two suppliers are different, and both still fall short of Apple's standards. Apple has reportedly yet to give a final response to the MLA application proposal from the Korean companies.

Apple's decision appears to hinge on whether the efficiency of the OLED material set can be improved upon between now and when ‌iPhone 16‌ mass production begins in the second half of 2024.

If the amount of light sent to the front can be slightly increased, and the amount of light sent to the sides can be reduced to minimize the narrowing of the viewing angle, then MLA implementation may be considered worthwhile. However, this depends on the performance of the OLED material set, and the sets of the two domestic panel companies are said to be different.

Samsung reportedly has more experience applying MLA to OLED panels. For example, it has used the technology in some of its own Galaxy S Ultra models, and has also delivered MLA-applied OLED panels to Chinese mobile vendors such as Vivo. LG meanwhile has applied MLA to some of its larger OLED smart TVs, but has no experience applying it to small and medium-sized panels, where the direction of light is adjusted differently.

Looking further ahead, a separate report in May claimed that Apple intends to mass produce more advanced microLED displays in order to lessen its reliance on Samsung and increase its own control over supply, laying the groundwork to realize its ultimate goal of bringing the next-generation technology to iPhones.
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