Sharp Begins Production of IGZO Displays Suitable for Apple Television

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Sharp IGZO DisplaysBackground via Shutterstock.

Japanese electronics manufacturer Sharp has begun production of its first high-resolution displays based on indium gallium zinc oxide (IGZO) technology, the company announced Friday (via MacRumors). Analysts believe that Sharp’s new displays are a “prime candidate” for use in upcoming Apple products, including the much-rumored Apple television.

Sharp claims that the new technology allows twice the resolution of existing displays but at the same transparency, meaning that high-resolution displays will not require brighter backlights, saving both energy and space. Sharp said these advantages result in up to a 90 percent reduction in power consumption compared to displays currently in use.

Early rumors suggested that IGZO displays would be found on the 2012 iPad, but it appears that the technology was not ready in time to meet Apple’s product launch schedule. While Sharp’s displays are suitable for devices of all sizes, analysts now expect that Apple has interest in the technology for future laptops and televisions. 

Sharp’s press release outlines example configurations, including a 32 inch LCD at 3840-by-2160 with a pixel density of 140 pixels per inch and a 10 inch notebook display at 2560-by-1600 for a pixel density of 300 pixels per inch. By comparison, a current 32 inch 1080p HDTV has a pixel density of about 69 pixels per inch while the 11-inch MacBook Air has a pixel density of about 142 pixels per inch. These are merely two specific examples and Sharp plans to manufacture displays at a variety of sizes.

Sharp and Apple supplier Foxconn entered into a partnership last month, with Foxconn investing over US$800 million in Sharp in exchange for a nearly 50 percent stake in a Sharp factory that manufactures displays for flat-panel televisions. It was this arrangement that convinced industry analysts that Sharp’s displays would find their way into future Apple products.

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