Last week, a rumor claimed that Apple could make use of LG’s MLCD+ display technology on its 6.1-inch iPhone. This was the first time that this rumor had made its way to the Internet and given that there was no credible information backing this leak, it was largely taken with a pinch of salt.
However, when one goes through the benefits offered by an MLCD+ display over traditional IPS LCD panels used by Apple, it does make a lot of sense for the company to switch to this newer LCD technology on its 6.1-inch iPhone. There’s also the fact that MLCD+ is developed by LG which has been supplying LCD panels for a long time to Apple.
So, what are the benefits of MLCD+? What sets it apart from the regular LCD panels found on millions of smartphones out there.
Interestingly, MLCD+ panels have been around for quite some time. LG had first unveiled them back in 2015 for use in its televisions and was then known as M+ LCD.
What is MLCD+ Technology?
A traditional LCD panel features red, green, and blue color pixels. MLCD+, however, adds a fourth white pixel to the mix. This greatly helps in increasing the peak brightness, with the LG G7 — the first phone to launch with an MLCD+ panel — capable of reaching brightness levels of up to 1000 nits.
In traditional LCD panels, producing white light is difficult as it requires light to pass through the red, green, and blue sub-pixel which then combines to form white light. However, around 60-70 percent of this light is blocked which is compensated by increasing the power of the backlight. In turn, this raises the price of the LCD and also has a negative effect on power consumption.
In MLCD+, the dedicated white sub-pixel has to only go through the liquid crystal light-polarizing layer which allows it to produce more light than traditional RGB LCD panels. Apart from higher brightness levels, it also helps improve efficiency which in turn helps battery life. And let’s not forget that the higher brightness level also helps in improving the contrast ratio which can have a visible impact in HDR videos.
There’s a disadvantage to this approach though. Fitting in one extra white subpixel in each RGB pixel stripe requires extra space. This leads to a reduction in the overall subpixel density, though given how high the resolutions of most LCD panels are, the impact of this would be negligible in day-to-day use. All OLED panels used in smartphones also make use of a similar PenTile arrangement.
Apart from a higher brightness level, improved contrast ratio and power efficiency, there’s another major benefit with MLCD displays which might seal the deal as to why Apple will make use of it on its 6.1-inch iPhone due to be unveiled later this year.
The display tech allows for a thinner bottom bezel. As LG revealed when it unveiled the G7 ThinQ earlier this month, the MLCD+ display allowed the handset to come with a bottom bezel that is almost 50 percent smaller than what is found on the LG G6. The smaller bezel is important as the 6.1-inch LCD iPhone is expected to come with an iPhone X-like design at the front, which means it will have almost no bezels.
Apple will be using an LCD panel on its 6.1-inch 2018 iPhone to keep its price low. However, it will ultimately want the phone to offer the same level of experience as its other two more expensive iPhones which is why it is possible that it would end up going with LG’s MLCD+ panel for the 6.1-inch iPhone.
Apple already uses the best IPS LCD available in the market on its iPhone lineup, so I’d expect the company to jump ship to the best version of the technology that’s available on the market. Obviously, it all depends on whether LG has enough resources to produce enough MLCD+ panels to fulfill Apple requirements.
What do you think about the MLCD+ display technology? Do you think Apple will make use of it in its 2018 iPhone lineup?