by Joe White
June 19, 2014
Sharp, one of several Apple display suppliers, has announced a new "Free-Form Display" technology that allows the manufacturer to "enable vastly greater design freedom for displays," according to a recent press release. Through removing the bezel which traditionally forms the perimeter of LCD displays, Sharp's Free-Form Display technology makes it possible for the manufacturer to create displays which better match their purpose and environment. For example, Free-Form Displays can be formed into unusual shapes (as above), and as such they would be able to be embedded among other physical elements in a product. Sharp explains:
Conventional displays are rectangular because they require a minimal width for the bezel in order to accommodate the drive circuit, called the gate driver, around the perimeter of the screen's display area. With the Free-Form Display, the gate driver's function is dispersed throughout the pixels on the display area. This allows the bezel to be shrunk considerably, and it gives the freedom to design the LCD to match whatever shape the display area of the screen needs to be.The press release continues: "For in-vehicle applications, for example, this development makes it possible to have a single instrument panel on the car dashboard that combines a speedometer and other monitors." Of course, future Apple products could indeed also benefit from the technology. As Sharp mentions in its press release, the Free-Form technology would clearly fit "wearable devices with elliptical displays," too, though it's probably too late for Sharp's development to appear in Apple's anticipated first-generation "iWatch" (which is expected to utilize an OLED display, instead). It's nevertheless going to be interesting to see how this technology is ultimately implemented -- especially considering that Foxconn, Apple's longtime manufacturer, is looking to provide the displays for future iPhones and iPads through a possible partnership with Sharp. Sharp hasn't confirmed when its technology is going to become available, adding that it "plans to enter the mass-production stage for the Free-Form Display at the earliest possible date." We'll keep you updated with further information as we receive it. In the meantime, see: Can You Save The Day Before Bedtime In Powerpuff Girls: Defenders Of Townsville?, Rhapsody For iOS Updated With Shazam-Like TrackMatch, Live Radio And UnRadio, and Cases Of iPhone Theft In Some Cities Have Dropped Thanks To Apple’s ‘Kill Switch’.