According to IHS, Apple will shift to indium gallium zinc oxide (IGZO) material for MacBook Pro displays as soon as later this year. The research firm reported to DigiTimes that Apple might continue to produce MacBook Pro displays based on current amorphous silicon (a-Si) material until the end of the first quarter of the year.

The report claims Sharp and Samsung will start supplying IGZO panels to Apple as soon as mid-2017. Sharp started mass production of IGZO displays in 2012. However, evidence suggests towards Apple only using the material in iPads so far. A rumor suggesting the first IGZO MacBooks would introduce by 2014 proved to be false.

IGZO is a semiconducting material that contains forty times more electron mobility than the standard a-Si used as the active layer of an LCD screen, improved touch sensitivity, permitting for less power consumption, and increased pixel density, that could lead the way for higher resolution displays. Raymond Soneira, DisplayMate president said that IGZO can also result in “significantly higher brightness.” However, the material costs “delicately more” to manufacture. Production and yield rate have decreased the adoption of IGZO. However, the material is now showing up in more ?products like LG’s new OLED TVs.

He added, “Sometimes IGZO is simply named as Metal Oxide. The higher the PPI and the wider the Color Gamut such as DCI-P3 for the new MacBook Pro, the greater the merits of IGZO over a-Si, especially for LCDs.” The backplane and glass circuitry of IGZO displays can also be made smaller, potentially referring to a thinner MacBook Pro. But, such a design change is less possible this year since Apple just redesigned the notebook in 2016 for the first time in four years. Apple’s interest mostly revolves around in the power savings.

The original iPad Air’s overall size and battery were reduced by around 25% comparison with the former model, and analysis suggested the tablet’s new IGZO display made that possible. But, a smaller MacBook Pro battery would possibly be seen negatively due to the battery life complaints on 2016 models. Apple’s switch to IGZO displays might be attempted for the next-generation MacBook Pro given the timeline.

Ming-Chi Kuo, the KGI Securities analyst said new MacBook Pro models will be introduced in the second half of 2017, most likely with slightly faster Kaby Lake processors announced this week. IHS expects Apple will order 9.7 million MacBook Pro display panels this year, increasing from 8.8 million units previous year.


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