15.4″ MacBook Pro: LED Backlight

Apple: As all of you know already, Apple introduced an updated version of its 15.4-inch MacBook Pro. One of the main updates, from a display point of view, was the use of LEDs as the lighting technology for the LCD. The LED backlight implementation on Apple’s 15.4-inch MacBook Pro seems to be the largest for notebook PCs. Typically we see LED backlights on much smaller notebooks such as Sony’s 11.1-inch TR series.

The type of LEDs used in notebook LCDs are called white LEDs. These comprise of a blue LED chip with a yellow phosphor coating on the package. The two combine for white light. White LED prices have come down significantly but high quality ones still command a premium. White LEDs can save on power consumption as well compared to CCFLs. That’s why Apple has increased the time the 15.4″ MacBook Pro will last on the same batteries. I am sure firmware and software upgrades have helped somewhat. Another benefit of using LEDs versus CCFLs as the light source for LCD backlights is thinner LCDs. Of course, too thin means less durability without using expensive materials such as carbon fiber (Sony’s G series notebooks come to mind).

What’s ahead? It’s easier to implement LED backlights on smaller LCD screens. Apple is working on implementing LED backlights for all of its products (Steve Jobs said so in one of his monologues about the environment) and we can expect to see the smaller 13.3″ MacBooks with LED backlights sooner than the larger displays (iMac, 17-inch MacBook Pro, Cinema displays).

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