Apple 27-inch 5K Monitor

[ Bloomberg ] Mark Gurman and Jungah Lee:

In addition to the new Macs, Apple is working on a new standalone monitor to connect to its computers, according to the people. After exiting the monitor business earlier this year with the discontinuation of the 27-inch Thunderbolt display, Apple is working with LG Electronics on a new monitor with a high-resolution “5K” screen, according to one of the people. Apple currently sells an iMac with a built-in 5K panel, which includes over seven times as many pixels as standard 1080p displays.

LG Electronics or LGE might be Apple’s integrator for the rumored 27-inch 5K monitor, but I think it’s not LGE whose working with Apple. Most likely Foxconn or some other company with massive manufacturing facilities in China will actually integrate or build the monitor. Where ‘LG’ comes in is with the display itself: the 27-inch 5K LCD panel. That panel will most likely be manufactured by LG Display or LGD.

Apple is expected to unveil a new iPhone, probably iPhone 7, on September 7 in San Francisco along with some other devices, such as a 27-inch 5K monitor, a new Apple Watch 2, and maybe some new Macs.

Class Action Lawsuit Against Apple for iPhone 6 and 6 Plus Unresponsive Touchscreen

[ MacRumors ] Joe Rossignol:

Thomas Davidson of Pennsylvania, Todd Cleary of California, and Jun Bai of Delaware have filed a class action lawsuit against Apple over an alleged defect that causes iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus touchscreens to become unresponsive and fail, according to court documents filed electronically this week.

Alleged defect? I don’t think so; see for yourself: iPhone 6 and 6 Plus Unresponsive Touchscreen. There have been more than a few Touch Diseased iPhone 6 and 6 Plus owners who have had terrible experiences.

There are consequences when your overarching goal is to make the iPhone thinner. A metal shield over the touchscreen controller chips would have made it more difficult for that part of the logic board to bend, when the iPhone bends. (Read the article linked above for a more detailed analysis of why the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus touchscreen becomes unresponsive.) But the added metal shield adds thickness. When thinness becomes more important than some other considerations, which should actually more important, users suffer from bad experiences.

What did Apple do to solve this problem in the iPhone 6s and the 6s Plus? Apple moved those controller chips somewhere else, to the display assembly to be specific.

iPhone 6 and 6 Plus Unresponsive Touchscreen

[ iFixit ] Julia Bluff:

Replacing the touchscreen doesn’t fix the problem. The gray bar eventually shows up on the new screen, too. Because, according to repair pros, the problem isn’t the screen at all. It’s the two touchscreen controller chips, or Touch IC chips, on the logic board inside the phone.

These two chips are: U2402 Meson and Cumulus U2401. Some micro-soldering professional seem to think the U2402 touchscreen controller chips have a manufacturing defect. But most think it’s because the small solder balls that connect the touch IC chips to the logic board start to lose contact with the board. Why? Because it’s easy to. Cured underfill beneath chips help secure solder balls, but there are none for the touch IC chips in the iPhone 6 and the 6 Plus. And there isn’t a strong metal shield over the chips to prevent bending, which is what the iPhone 6 and especially the iPhone 6 Plus do. When the iPhones bend the logic board does too and eventually loosens the IC chip connections to the logic board. When that happens you have an unresponsive touchscreen.

The iPhone 6s and 6s Plus are immune to what’s called Touch Disease, because these touch IC chips were moved off the logic board and into the display assembly.

So how do you fix your Touch Diseased iPhone 6 or 6 Plus? First, if your iPhone is still within the warranty period, take it to Apple and do your best to upgrade to the 6s or 6s Plus. If you’re out of warranty, find an independent repair shop that can do board-level micro-soldering and has experience fixing Touch Disease. Make sure the two touch IC chips are replaced with new ones. Some shops are covering the chips with a strong metal shield to prevent bending. Here are the repair shops that were mentioned in the iFixit article:

Apple’s design schedule for the iPhone has been relatively simple: the non-‘s’ versions have new designs and the ‘s’ versions enhance the internals. Brand new designs are new and no matter how hard Apple works at it Apple can’t get all the kinks out. So my recommendation is to go with ‘s’ versions of iPhones if you can; they tend to have less problems.

But that might require you to wait a really long time for a new iPhone because rumor has it the new iPhone scheduled to be introduced on September 7 will be called iPhone 7 and the next one will be iPhone 8. No iPhone 7s this time around. I don’t know if I’ll be able to, but if I want to minimize the chances of having hardware problems like Touch Disease, I’ll have to stick with my iPhone 6s until iPhone 8s comes out in 2018.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Review by Engadget

[ Engadget ] Devindra Hardawar:

The X1 Yoga’s OLED display doesn’t waste any time impressing you. The red border around Lenovo’s logo has an almost electric feel upon boot-up, and that carries over to everything in Windows. OLED displays are known for their bold colors and deep black levels, and this one doesn’t disappoint. Watching videos and perusing photos is a revelatory experience. OLED adds an enormous amount of depth to images that makes them seem almost three-dimensional.

With a resolution of 2,560 by 1,440 (1440p/2K), the X1 Yoga’s OLED screen is significantly sharper than a 1080p display, though it’s not quite 4K. That’s just fine, though, as Windows 10 still isn’t well suited to 4K, and the benefits of such a high resolution are wasted on laptop screens.

Bold colors can often mean blown out colors, over-saturated colors, or unnatural colors. With OLED displays the ability to be color calibrated with a hardware calibration tool seems mandatory. Can you imagine how wonderful colors would be on an OLED display if they were accurate?

With a resolution of 210 ppi, 2560×1440 on a 14-inch display is plenty. But to say 4K is wasted on laptop screens? Now that’s a stretch. Not one pixel on a theoretical 17-inch MacBook Pro with 3840×2160 (259 ppi) would go wasted.

Unfortunately, I was disappointed by the Thinkpad X1’s battery life. It lasted only around 4.5 hours during typical usage, and I always had to recharge it in the afternoons. In our battery test, which involves playing an HD video continuously at 50 percent brightness, it lasted 8.5 hours. It’s likely just far more efficient at handling video than a plethora of different programs running at once.

Not surprising. You get much more battery life when watching videos on an OLED display than a LCD because: Videos overall are generally darker than websites or office applications like Microsoft Office. The darker the screen the less energy is consumed by OLEDs. On the other hand edge-lit LCDs, which are most LCDs, are always on whether or not the content is dark or not. So if you’re a movie buff, want to get totally immersed in your movies, and still have some battery leftover, a notebook with an OLED display will not disappoint.

AMZN.TV24 – August 29, 2016

Hope you had a wonderful weekend! Today we’ll be looking at average selling price or ASP trends for 1080p and 4K TV sets that show up on the front page of Amazon when you search for 50-inch and larger TVs that have 4-star or better customer ratings. (Click here a brief intro to AMZN.TV24.) We will also look at 4K price premiums over 1080p at some popular sizes.

1080p ASP Trends

AMZN.TV24 2016.08.29 ASP 1080p

Let’s start with ASPs for 1080p TVs. The first thing that jumps out is the large gap between 75-inch 1080p TV’s ASP compared to 65-inch. 75-inch 1080p TV ASPs also swing about more crazily compared to the other sizes. (Note there are no data points for Sundays, which is a day of rest for me.)

Today the ASPs for 65-inch fell quite dramatically, and is only slightly higher than 60-inch. The reason for this is VIZIO’s E650i-A2 that popped into the front page for the first time. (Note I will be recording the price as it is shown on Amazon to accurately analyze what potential customers will see on any given day. And that means there will be prices that are new, used, those that include shipping and handling and those that don’t, etc. The lower than usual average price for a 60-inch 1080p TV is because of the used price for the E650i-A2.)

55-inch 1080p TV ASPs have been on an upswing since August 25, while 60-inch ASPs remain steady.

4K ASP Trends

AMZN.TV24 2016.08.29 ASP 4K

Two data points are missing for 50-inch 4K ASPs on August 23rd and today because there were no 50-inch 4K TVs that showed up on Amazon’s front search result page. It seems for 4K, where customers are upgrading from 1080p, is slightly too small. I’d guess the minimum size customers want for a 4K TV is 55 inches.

60-inch 4K TV ASPs took a rather significant jump today and last Saturday, while 55-inch ASPs continued to decline slowly. Although there is only a 5-inch gap between 60-inch and 55-inch the price gap is rather large. The opposite is true between 50-inch and 55-inch: there’s a very small gap. If you’re looking for a 4K TV to upgrade to, the best deals seem to be at 55-inch.

4K Premium Trends: 55-inch

AMZN.TV24 2016.08.29 4K Premium 55-inch

Let’s take a look at how much of a price premium 4K TVs demand over 1080p. Except for the huge drop in price on August 25th, 55-inch 4K price premiums have ranged from US$128 to over $300. The recent decrease in 4K price premiums is not the result of rapid declines in 55-inch 4K TV prices, but rather an uptick in 55-inch 1080p TV prices.

4K Premium Trends: 60-inch

AMZN.TV24 2016.08.29 4K Premium 60-inch

4K price premiums have increased quite a bit at 60-inch, because of ASP increases of 4K 60-inch TVs. Samsung’s higher-end UN60KS8000 model started showing up on August 27th skewing the 60-inch 4K ASP upward. Newer more advanced 4K TV models sport such features as quantum dots for wider color gamuts and not 16 million but one billion colors, and HDR or High Dynamic Range. 60-inch 1080p ASPs have held steady for the last 12 data points.

These analyses are a part of a report that I am developing titled AMZN.TV24. I hope the data analysis on ASP trends was helpful and interesting to you. If you have any questions and or comments, feel free to click my name at the top, scroll down to the bottom, and fill out the form. I can’t promise I’ll get back to everyone, but I’ll do my best. Tomorrow I will be sharing size share by 1080p and by 4K to answer: what is the most popular sizes for 4K? And 1080p?

AMZN.TV24 – August 27, 2016

4K vs. 1080p

As promised, today I’ll be sharing 4K vs. 1080p share on Amazon’s front search result page. Click for an introduction on my AMZN.TV24 report.

AMZN.TV24 2016.08.27 4K vs. 1080p

I started tracking information on Amazon on August 4, 2016. Unlike the previous two (Brand Share, Size Share) where I limited the chart to just 12 data points, the 4K vs. 1080p chart will go all the way back. This way the trend becomes more clear.

For most of August 4K has had about 60% share, but more recently and in particular the 22nd and 23rd of the month 4K and 1080p had equal share. The last two days show 4K gaining popularity again. I expect going forward 4K will not only return to 60% share, but take over. But there are some questions.

Would consumers respond to ridiculously low 1080p TV prices or to really low 4K prices? Ludicrous 1080p prices are sure to happen during Black Friday this year. Imagine a 55-inch 1080p LCD TV from a major brand going for US$299! I know I’d be tempted to get one, only if it’s a good brand though. And limited quantities. Of course. I’m betting there will be a major pop in 1080p LCD TV popularity in November and December. I mentioned limited quantities, but incredibly low prices will also be for a limited time as major LCD manufacturers move away from low profit margin 1080p and toward higher profit margin 4K.

Is 4K really that good? Yes, if you’re watching sports. No, if you’re watching stuff other than sports. From time to time I go to our local Best Buy store to check out what’s up. I go upstairs where the TVs are and go to the Magnolia rooms to look at the really good TVs. At first glance they look pretty good, but often I have to take a closer look. I think to myself: Am I watching a documentary about the makings of The Avengers? Or am I watching the actual movie? It’s not clear. I’ll be blunt: watching 4K movies on a 4K TV sucks, because it feels like I’m watching a documentary. I’d like my belief to be suspended and be immersed. The details are too real for my belief to be suspended and there’s nothing to be immersed in. Maybe TV brands can include a feature that makes movies look more like movies by downgrading to 1080p?

Note: A DISPLAYBLOG reader Howard M. wrote in with a correction. The documentary effect, also known as the soap opera effect, on movies is not caused by resolution (4K) but is the result of frame interpolation, which generates more frames than the film’s 24 fps. There are other names for frame interpolation: motion interpolation, motion estimation motion compensation (MEMC), and probably a couple more. Most modern 4K TVs come with frame interpolation turned on:

  • LG’s TruMotion
  • Samsung’s AutoMotion Plus
  • Sharp’s AquoMotion
  • Sony’s MotionFlow
  • VIZIO’s Smooth Motion Effect, etc.

Hat tip to Howard M.! ]

Next Monday I’ll be looking at price trends. It’ll be considerably more lengthy than the first three as I will be sharing some insights about:

  • 1080p average price trends by size
  • 4K average price trends by size
  • 4K price premiums by size

Have a great weekend!

AMZN.TV24 – August 26, 2016

Here’s a brief description of AMZN.TV24. In the inaugural AMZN.TV24 post I shared some brand share insights. Today I’ll share some data about size share trends.

AMZN.TV24 2016.08.26 Size Share

Here are some highlights:

  • 55-inch has been and continue to be dominant.
  • 65-inch is #2.
  • 60-inch is #3.
  • And 50-inch is #4.

In a future post I will delineate between 4K and 1080p, but today I’ll stick to just sizes. The front page of Amazon’s TV search result is 38% 55-inch TVs. Only a couple of years ago 55-inch TVs were considered “Wow! That’s huge!” But now, I think 55-inch is closing in on a minimum size for a new living room TV.

What’s interesting is that 60-inch TVs are not #2, but 65-inch TVs are. That’s a 10-inch jump. There are reasons for that — 65-inch pricing, 4K vs. 1080p, etc. — but it’s interesting to note 65-inch TVs take up 21%. Perhaps another possible reason is Samsung, the brand with 50% share, is optimized for manufacturing 65-inch LCD panels, making a lot of them, and marketing them aggressively.

Another interesting thought is numbers that end with 0 (zero) is not as popular as numbers that end with non-zeros, such as 5. 55 versus 50. 65 versus 60. 55 sounds better than 50. And so does 65. Just a thought.

One last note about the size share trend data: 50-inch grabbed 20%+ share a couple of times, but I think 55-inch and 65-inch will continue being dominant and will increase share.

I hope the data and insights were helpful to you. The next topic will be 4K versus 1080p share trends, which I’ll post tomorrow.