2018 was a big year for Apple, whose flagship iPhone XS Max features one of the largest, most stunning and technologically advanced OLED displays money can buy.
And yet, with rumors already swirling that 2020 has even larger, foldable iPhone form-factors in store for us, we can almost certainly expect Cupertino’s race to ‘crank up the size and pack on the pixels’ only to intensify, as new technologies emerge allowing for the development of these larger, more advanced displays.
One example of such burgeoning technologies, as highlighted in a recent Anandtech report, is a promising work-in-progress being undertaken by Semiconductor Energy Laboratory (SEL) — a Japanese display-maker, who’s currently developing 8.3-inch and 13.3-inch OLED displays boasting 8K resolution, which could possibly see their way into future Apple products like a larger iPad mini, iPad or MacBook Pro.
According to the report, both of SEL’s display panels boast a crisp resolution of 7,680 by 4,320 pixels, giving the 8.3-inch panel a record-smashing pixel density of 1,062 pixels per inch (ppi), and the 13.3-inch panel, 663ppi.
- For comparison, iPhone XS and XS Max’ Super Retina OLED displays both clock in at 458ppi.
- Both 11- and 12.9-inch 2018 iPad Pro models boast 264ppi.
- The fully-equipped 2018 13-inch MacBook Pro clocks in at just 227ppi.
So we’re clearly talking some serious pixel gains, regardless of which device, if any, ultimately gets this generous upgrade down the road.
“Both of SEL’s OLED panels featuring a 7680×4320 resolution use a color filter that relies on CAAC-IGZO (c-axis aligned crystalline indium gallium zinc oxide) material,” Anandtech notes, adding that the 8.3-inch panel features a native refresh rate of 60Hz, while the 13.3-inch variant can notch at up to 120Hz, a la Apple’s latest iPad Pros.
When Will This Technology Debut?
Unfortunately, while SEL has so far successfully demonstrated its 8.3-inch 8K OLED panel at Japan’s annual SEMICON expo back in December, the 13.3-inch variant is still in its early stages of development and testing.
Realistically speaking, it’s unlikely that we’ll see these debut in 2019 — but possibly in 2020, which would, among other things, give the firm plenty of time to iron out any technical issues relating to the deployment of 8K resolution with Apple, directly.
In addition to these 8K panels possibly debuting on high-end devices like an 8.3- or 13.3-inch iPad Pro, or 13-inch MacBook Pro, Apple is rumored to be working on a ‘next-generation’ OLED technology dubbed MicroLED, which could also debut within the next few years on devices like iPhone, Apple Watch and possibly a self-branded Apple ‘big screen’ TV.