Apple files patents for OLED and touchscreen ‘hovering’

Could OLED be in Apple’s future? Possibly. According to PatentlyApple, the electronics maker has filed for three patents related to OLED, or Organic Light Emitting Diode, a popular display technology due to its ability to display crisp blacks and higher contrast than LCD displays. Apple may use these patents to bring OLED displays to its iOS devices, or larger devices, in the future.

Until now, OLED has been mostly relegated to smaller devices like MP3 players and smartphones, but that may be changing as companies begin developing technology to bring it to larger screens. LG showed off a 31-inch super-thin OLED TV last September. How’d it get so thin? Well LED and OLED don’t require the backlight that LCD and other display technologies do, shaving precious inches off the back of new TVs.

Apple’s three OLED patents

  1. Patent for driving an OLED display that is integrated with a touch sensor (20100321305).
  2. Patent for signal routing for an OLED display that includes a touch sensor (20100265187).
  3. Patent for integrating a touch sensor with an OLED display (20100265188).

From the wording, it looks like Apple may indeed be looking at OLED as a viable option for the future. More as we hear it.


Improving hover sensing

In other news from PatentlyApple, the company also recently filed for a patent to improve capacitive touch (touch screens that use the electricity from your fingers) and hover sensing. Hover sensing is when you hold your finger over the screen but don’t actually touch it. The site speculates that Apple could be developing technology to have volume adjustments and other items controllable by hovering as well as touching. An interesting idea to think about. It could open up new types of touch interactions.