Apple eyes outdoor-friendly LCD displays

Apple is reportedly eyeing the creation of outdoor-friendly LCD displays for devices like the iPad and iPhone.

According to a recently filed patent application tracked down by AppleInsider, the new liquid-crystal display would reduce distortion when viewed through linearly polarizing filters such as sunglasses.

Current-gen LCD displays – which are based on polarization optics – typically utilize linear polarizers on their front surfaces. 

However, the light from LCDs generate an electric field that vibrates in one direction.

This is a definite problem for polarized sunglasses, which only allow light through with an electric field that vibrates in the vertical direction.

“Hence a user looking at the LCD display of a portable device… may see a distorted image in the display when viewed through polarized sunglasses, due to the polarized filters in the sunglasses blocking the light when the display is viewed at some angles,” the patent application explains.

Apple’s proposed solution is a display that would emit circularly polarized light by placing a layer in the path of linearly polarized light.

“The layer receives the linearly-polarized light on one surface, converts the linearly-polarized light to circularly-polarized light, and then emits the circularly-polarized light from another surface.

“By emitting circularly-polarized light, the display reduces the perceived distortion found at some angles when the display is viewed through a linearly-polarizing filter.”

It should be noted that Apple’s current use of glass screen covers and glossy displays has been criticized by many users, as some feel they make viewing devices like the iPad in the sunlight practically impossible.