If you’re like me and you take your iPod out into the wide world, you won’t be happy if this rumor turns out to be true: Apple is supposedly going to switch the display screen on future iPods to OLED.
The OLED technology sure makes a sweet-looking screen, which looks like a million bucks when you’re relying on nothing but fluorescent light, but get that OLED out into the bright sunlight and you’ll be squinting more than ever to read the title of the song that’s streaming through the earphones. (Of course, if you already know what’s playing, you don’t necessarily need to read it on the screen. Still, it’s the principle of the thing.)
But I digress. OLED, as we have described it before, stands for Organic Light-Emitting Diode. An OLED device has an organic film sandwiched between two conductors. Throw in a current, and you get a bright light. That takes away the need for a back light and also makes for faster response time and greater power efficiency.
So it’s sort of a tradeoff. Next-generation shuffles will have screens. And especially if you want a video variety of iPod, you’ll appreciate the OLED capabilities. The other tradeoff, however, is that OLEDs tend to have a shorter life than the current TFTs.
None of this is confirmed, of course. The rumor isn’t even new — it was reported widely three years ago now — but it does give pause to those who are beholden to their iPods and/or are looking to upgrade. And it does suggest that Apple is willing to go in a direction already trodden by its competitors: you can certainly find a different brand of MP3 player that has an OLED screen on the market today.