Apple Watch Patent Newly Points At Always-On Display Tech Resistant To Burn-In

So, it’s clear and fair that the Cupertino-based company already sent out invites for 2018 iPhone XS reveal on September 12, alongside there are also rumors that the company planning to introduce its next-fourth generation Apple Watch. Ever since Apple released its first smartwatch, everyone has been begging for an always-on display technology and today we seem to have come to see the time without turning on the screen.

Obviously, there are some competitors to Apple Watch which have some sort of always-on feature, allowing the time to be displayed at all times, where Apple’s wearable does not. That means everytime users need to raise their wrist or tap the watch’s screen in order to see something as basic as the time, and that’s been a case since the Apple Watch launched three years ago.

Apple Watch 2 con schermo Always-On?

However, a new patent application leads to speculation of always-on display tech exploring that Apple is indeed looking at a way to rectify that and giving the Apple Watch its very own always-on display.

Up until this point, Apple has somewhat refused to offer any sort of always-on display due to its impact on battery life as well as the potential for screen burn-in, which is something that OLED displays are more susceptible to than other display technologies. Thus, Apple appears to be working on rectifying at least one of those by finding ways to prevent burn-in.

According to the Apple patent, which seems like the company is all too aware of the potential burn-in issues it could eventually run into with an always-on Apple Watch, saying “Organic light-emitting diode (OLED) displays-which otherwise, are becoming more popular choices for computing device displays-can degrade in a non-uniform manner over their lifespans and lead to unwanted color/brightness artifacts.”

There may be ways around that, according to the company.

To address this concern, burn-in statistics–which record historical usage information associated with a given OLED display–can be used to artificially adjust the operation of the OLED display to substantially restore visual uniformity throughout its operation.

Apple Watch patent application leads to speculation of always-on screen mode

While the second one can be easily solved by switching to a dimmer grayscale mode when not using the watch to preserve battery. There’s a problem and that is intrinsic to OLED panels – the so-called burn-in effect that occurs over time when the same array of pixels is turned on for long periods of time.

Apple’s take on the matter isn’t all about preventing the burn-in from happening, but it’s actually masking it. Usage statistics on the OLED will be gathered around and use them to restore the visual uniformly of the display by artificially adjusting the color balance, customizations of the problematic area. This way users can have the cake and eat it too.

The company also suggests that such statistics could use a high-resolution, multiple-channel image, although that has its own issues including the amount of storage space required for such images. This, however, being a patent, we have to remember that there is no guarantee that any of this will come to fruition. Still, we can hope.

Where the patent also involves a new anti-aliasing technique to smoothen and better fit the content on the curved sides of the screen confirming the bigger and perhaps curvier display of the upcoming Apple Watch Series 4. If the engineers figure out how to tackle the problems above, we could very much see an always-on display feature when it launches side by the trio of iPhones expected at Apple Park’s Gather Round keynote event.

(Source: USPTO)

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