The iPhone 5′s 4-inch IGZO Screen: What You Need To Know

Details about the technology surrounding the iPhone 5‘s purported 4-inch screen are now coming to the surface. Read about what an IGZO screen on the iPhone 5 could mean for users.

In a recent survey of iPhone 4S users that we reported on yesterday, it was revealed that current 4S users aren’t nearly as broken up about a sub-4-inch screen as would have been assumed. That being said, a sprawling 4″+ screen for the iPhone 5 still remains atop most smartphone users’ wish lists, and all rumors and reports seem to be corroborating the notion that the iPhone 5 will indeed sport a larger screen.

A recent report has taken this rumor a step farther, stating that the iPhone 5′s 4-inch screen will be cutting-edge. According to ComputerWorld and other tech media outlets, Apple “is rumored to be funding Hitachi and Sony in making 4-inch IGZO (indium, gallium, zinc) displays” for the iPhone 5, and, quoting Neil Hughes at AppleInsider, who reminds us that this “report arrives on the heels of claims from the Wall Street Journal, which said earlier this week that Sharp will also produce panels for the iPad 3 at its Kameyama No. 2 plant in central Japan; Apple typically sources its components from multiple partners,” it now seems apparent that Apple is going to do something dramatic with the iPhone 5′s screen.

Jeffries analyst Peter Misek mentioned IGZO in his report a little while back, stating ”The IGZO technology is perfect in that it offers near-OLED power consumption while having a lower cost and thinness that is only 25% greater than OLED, based on our checks,” but to be frank, his description of IGZO is rather boring; just what you’d except from a financial analyst. While low power consumption and cost are indeed two welcome features, there is more to IGZO than its bottom line for production costs.

It’s also extremely new. Just to give you an idea, none of the Wikipedia gnomes have even done up a page for it yet.

When you dig around for IGZO information, however, you do come across some impressive documentation. This, for example, comes from another IGZO manufacturer called JUSUNG: “IGZO – Indium, Gallium, Zinc, Oxygen, replaces the traditional amorphous silicon based active layer. IGZO has an electron mobility 40 times greater than traditional materials such that a display’s reaction speed can be more swiftly controlled. In doing so, panel makers will be able to offer screen resolutions higher than the current Full High Definition.”

Going back to Miesk for a minute, he summarized IGZO by stating that it will give the iPhone 5 a resolution of “330 dpi, which is sufficient for an HD display while not using IPS nor having to include dual-bar LED backlighting. In our view, this should lead to several design advantages, namely the device can be thinner, battery life should be longer, and the overall experience for users should be meaningfully improved.”

So, in this way, it looks like we’re going to get a thinner, faster, HD screen without dual-bar LED backlighting and with lower power consumption. While “the overall experience for users should be meaningfully improved” is a rather nondescript prospect for iPhone 5 users, one can imagine how IGZO technology could 1) fix the battery issues 2) integrate with faster service, such as 4G LTE and the A6 processor 3) offer a truly HD screen 4) give rise to the prospect of a flexible iPhone and/or a hybrid screen that can double as an “e-ink” reader, like on the Kindle.

Teardrop iPhone 5 Design Looking Increasing Stupid

In other news, iLounge is reporting that sources close to Apple have confirmed that the iPhone 5 will not sport the fabled “teardrop” design that case companies like Case-Mate, Hard Candy, and a myriad of el cheap-o iPhone 5 case manufacturers anticipated for 2011.

The iPhone 5 News Blog questioned the point and purpose of the awkward teardrop design back on October 19th, 2011, before the iPhone 4S announcement. It seemed to us then (and now) that, while aesthetically pleasing, a curved- or teardrop-shaped iPhone 5 would be fraught with ergonomic problems, and interesting aesthetics would give way to frustrations about its design.

Most likely, the teardrop design came as a result of Photoshoppers and designers trying to imagine a new iPhone form factor that would depart from the iPhone 4′s design, but not appear to be Android-like. Nice try, but impractical.

February/March iPhone 5 Release: Still Bupkis

I’m so happy that I’ve had the opportunity to use my three favorite words on the Blog — “prognosticate,” “el cheap-o,” and “bupkis,” all in one article before the end of the year. I wrote in another article about the ridiculousness of the March 2012 iPhone 5 release date rumor, citing obvious reasons that don’t make be a genius by any stretch. Not to be outdone, however, tech bloggers are pushing the stupidity envelope (you can buy them in packs of 50 or 100 at Staples) by suggesting February as an iPhone 5 release date.

Steven Williamson, blogger at Hexus: “Both the iPhone 5 and iPad 3 are likely to make an early appearance at the Mobile World Congress in February.” Williamson’s prognostication lives up to his blog’s name: audacious claims like that are sure to hex us — let’s now expect a 2013 iPhone 5 release. (Just kidding.)

A February or March 2012 release of the iPhone 5 would be an epic fail for Apple and all of its U.S. carriers — Sprint, in particular. I still subscribe to the notion that the June WWDC is still a reasonable announcement date for the iPhone 5. Rumors of production over the next few months should put it into better focus for us all.


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