Wouldn’t it’s great if we could make smartphones more power efficient and obtain more use from one charge? That’s precisely the idea behind LTPO display technology employed by Apple and Samsung. Here’s what to expect from the touchscreens of tomorrow.
What Is an LTPO Display?
LTPO stands for low-temperature polycrystalline oxide and it refers to a specific sort of backplane technology seen in OLED displays. OLED stands for organic LED , a singular sort of self-emissive display found in everything from smartwatches to smartphones and bigger consumer displays.
OLED displays typically use low-temperature polycrystalline silicon (LTPS) for the skinny film transistors (TFTs) that structure the backplane of the display. By leveraging both LTPS and Indium Gallium flowers of zinc (IGZO), Apple can use a mixture of LTPS and LTPO technology to supply new benefits while keeping production viable.
This is all through with the aim of manufacturing displays which will vary their refresh rate. Apple technically used this display technology within the Apple Watch Series 4, but truth benefits weren’t seen until the launch of the Apple Watch Series 5 with its always-on display.
LTPO may be a breakthrough because it doesn’t require additional components between the display controller and graphical processing unit (GPU) to permit for a dynamic refresh rate.
While LTPO is an Apple-developed technology (for which it holds the patents,) Samsung has also been performing on similar display technology that won’t require it to pay royalties to at least one of its main rivals. Samsung’s version is understood as hybrid-oxide and polycrystalline silicon (HOP.)
What Benefits Does LTPO Bring?
Your smartphone’s display uses more power than the other component. While OLED screens are more efficient than their LCD counterparts, they still consume an outsized slice of your battery life compared to other components just like the system-on-chip or wireless technologies like Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.
LTPO’s main advantage is in reducing this power consumption by varying the refresh rate. this is often precisely how Apple was ready to create the Apple Watch Series 5 (and its successor.) the newest Apple wearables sport always-on displays while maintaining all-day battery life.
Apple iPad Pro with ProMotion
The term “refresh rate” refers to the amount of times a display updates during a second, measured by frequency in hertz (Hz). Most smartphones use 60Hz displays, though there are 120Hz models available (and Apple itself produces a “ProMotion” iPad that uses the upper refresh rate).
A higher refresh rate makes for a more responsive and smoother user experience at the value of energy efficiency. By varying the refresh rate right down to 1Hz (essentially one frame per second) as per Apple’s latest wearables, energy are often preserved since the display is making fewer requests and changes to what’s on-screen.
For example, when your phone receives a notification it lights up to notify you. During this era , there are unlikely to be any moving objects on the screen. By lowering the refresh rate the user experience isn’t compromised in any way. once you devour your phone to see the notification, the refresh rate are often restored to a frequency better suited to general use.
This technology might be used dynamically everywhere the OS . for instance , if your device is displaying the “Now Playing” screen for a podcast or music, the display refresh rate are often lowered considerably. Theoretically, games that cash in of high frame rates could “request” the utilization of the complete 120Hz if Apple were to supply the means of doing so.
Since Apple runs a decent ship in terms of its curated user experience, the corporate could “enforce” more efficient refresh rates in certain circumstances like when viewing the lock screen or making a video call. Apple’s FaceID cameras can already tell when you’re watching the screen, so it’s going to even be possible to scale back refresh rates when the OS sees that no-one is watching.
Which Devices Use LTPO Displays?
The first device to really make use of the benefits LTPO brings was the Apple Watch Series 5. The smartwatch made waves when the corporate announced the “always-on” display technology, with a refresh rate which will go all the way right down to 1Hz.
Apple has yet to fuse its LTPO wearable technology with the type of high refresh rate display seen within the iPad Pro, but, as of March 2021, prominent leakers suggest that the corporate is planning on adding this technology to an iPhone within the near future.
Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra
Meanwhile, LTPO displays that use Samsung’s HOP technology are already call at the wild. These displays are limited to flagship devices just like the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra and Galaxy S21 Ultra. Anandtech’s analysis of the display utilized in the S21 Ultra noted “huge efficiency improvements” in terms of energy consumption.
LTPO technology presents another breakthrough for portable devices like smartphones and wearables. These improvements aren’t immediately noticeable in terms of visibly improved display quality, but instead, deliver efficiency gains that ought to help improve battery life.
How widespread LTPO displays will become remains to be seen. at the present they’re destined for high-end devices that make use of upper refresh rates so don’t be surprised to ascertain them appearing in flagship iPhones and wearables soon .
Want better battery life in your iPhone without upgrading? Read our guide to improving your iPhone battery life.