After Jobs returned, he drastically innovated the product line and launched many "epoch-making" products. At that time, Apple also became "cool" again.
From then on, Apple's new products will always be dubbed "game changer".
The iPod disrupted the physical record industry, the MacBook Air redefined the thin and light notebook, the iPhone completely ushered in the era of "smart" phones, and the iPad is evolving into a new era of personal PCs.
▲ The MacBook Air slides out of the kraft paper bag. Image credit: Gfycat
It's just that after making great progress, Apple has become more "steady", and the product changes have become more rational, and it seems that there is less "light". Perhaps, Apple is actually waiting for a "breakthrough".
As we all know, Apple, like Nongfu Spring, "does not produce water, but is just a porter of nature", but Apple brings new technologies, plus some creative ideas, into products.
▲ Imaginary picture of Apple's folding screen. Image from: wccftech
Earlier, Tianfeng International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo shared a piece of news that Apple was investigating E Ink's e-ink screen and analyzed that it might be used on the rumored foldable iPhone.
In the product launch or pre-research stage, Apple will investigate the feasibility of many technologies, although most of these "investigations" have not been finalized.
▲ The ink screen not only changes color, but also supports folding. Image from: Yuantai Technology
It's just that the recent breakthrough of "electronic ink screen" is very likely to bring new inspiration to many of Apple's product lines.
It is difficult to become an ink screen of the "main screen"
Common LCD and OLED material screens pursue authenticity, balance and high adaptability, and try to avoid obvious defects.
▲ The refresh speed is visible to the naked eye.
The e-ink screen, on the contrary, has distinct advantages and disadvantages, and has great limitations in application scenarios.
The e-ink screen only needs to be powered on when it needs to be rewritten, and its own refresh rate is very slow, but it can be well adapted to information scenarios that do not need to be refreshed frequently.
In addition, after several years of development, the resolution and color problems of the ink screen have been gradually improved, and the threshold of 300ppi resolution and color has been leaped forward.
E Ink (Yuantai Technology), which focuses on ink screens, has also recently innovated color ink screen technology, enabling it to become an interactive "screen" for some consumer electronics products.
However, the color ink screen technology of the E ink Gallery 3 has been greatly improved, but it still has just reached the level of black and white ink screen.
In other words, it still has certain limitations, and it is precisely because of this that it has a very clear boundary of use and interaction.
▲ The occasional brain hole product of the ink screen.
At this stage, e-paper readers are still the most widely used devices with ink screens. Its success is precisely the use of the "boundary" of the ink screen.
"Reading" does not require frequent refresh of the screen, and the color is also not necessary, and the look and feel of the ink screen that cannot even emit light is very consistent with traditional paper.
▲ One Kindle is worth one library.
For a variety of reasons, Kindles are the best device to replace paper books.
After the success of electronic paper book readers such as Kindle, ink screens have also been put into some "smart" devices.
Until now, there are still many of these products, but they are slightly out of touch with the rest of the current products.
A screen that doesn't follow your hand, and a low refresh rate, is almost an "old man's machine" that can use traffic, a proper device for quitting the Internet.
In addition to reading, many other needs, whether in interaction or display effect, are difficult to meet with ink screens.
With its own characteristics, it is difficult to become the "home screen" of smart devices.
May be a good "secondary screen"
If you think about it another way, if you can't be the main ink screen, it may be a good secondary screen.
And this is also predicted by Ming-Chi Kuo, and it is likely to become the second screen of Apple's folding device.
At the moment, it seems that only Apple has not yet entered the "folding" device, but there is quite clear news that Apple has begun trial production of prototypes.
Moreover, Apple’s ambitions are not limited to the iPhone, iPads and MacBooks may be folded.
Bloomberg's Mark Gurman said in a podcast that Apple is also working on a foldable device with a 20-inch screen that opens up as an iPad and closes as a MacBook.
▲ Oversized Apple foldable device. Image from: wccftech
No matter how the current folding form changes, multiple screens are a "required" configuration. But until now, the two screens of the folding screen still have some vague "borders" in use, and coupled with the configuration that the picture quality is not consistent, the "split" feeling of the same device is obvious.
The ink screen investigated by Apple may be presented on a folding screen in a similar way to the Z Flip, using the power-saving features of the ink screen to display notifications, time or widgets, somewhat like the current Apple Watch.
▲ Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3.
As for more complex interaction or information processing, it is done directly on the home screen.
Alternatively, the ink screen can also be designed on a Mac or iPad in the form of a monitoring window. The basic state of the device can be read without opening it.
It can even be transplanted to accessories, using MagSafe to transmit the corresponding data, and also provide some information.
The use of ink screens as "secondary screens" and even accessories for iPhones has long appeared. Like the popular YotaPhone, there is an ink screen, but its size is similar to the main screen, and there are no obvious boundaries. After the novelty, it becomes a display.
The iPhone-related protective case needs to be connected through a physical interface and comes with a battery, so the volume and weight are not friendly.
How to make good use of the distinctive characteristics of the ink screen and reflect it in a reasonable way should be a major direction for Apple to consider in addition to the research technology.
How to counterattack the never-successful "secondary screen"?
The concept of "secondary screen" has appeared in various consumer electronics products a long time ago.
▲ Nikon Z7.
However, in detail, only professional-grade mirrorless and SLR cameras have a more "practical" function. It has a long history of existence, spanning the film and digital eras of cameras.
The accumulation of user habits for a long time, and the presentation of only basic information, has kept this "secondary screen" until now. It can be said that it is the cultivation of habits, in fact, it is also to find the most suitable position, and there is no cross-border.
▲ Fuji X-Pro 3. Picture from: dpreview
However, there is also a counter-example here, that is, Fuji, one of the film giants, has made an innovation on the "secondary screen" in its rangefinder-like mirrorless camera X-Pro 3.
This small secondary screen occupies the position of the original main screen, and compared with the traditional secondary screen, it also presents less information. After the listing, this screen has also become a "defect" of the X-Pro 3, and even increased the popularity of the old X-Pro 2.
▲ The information is clear at a glance. Image from: reddit
Another reasonable existence of a secondary screen is in the DIY field. Use AIDA64 software to build a "secondary screen" inside the PC chassis, which is similar to the "secondary screen" on the camera, showing the operating status of the processor, graphics card, and hard disk.
But the "secondary screen" of the same function is a bit "superfluous" on a smartphone. The dual-screen vivo NEX, Meizu's Pro 7 series, and Xiaomi's 11 Ultra were mostly short-lived and did not last.
Relatively speaking, the additional advantages brought by the secondary screen are all occupied by the extra space, the extra power consumed, and the impact on heat dissipation. The practicality is limited, and even a little tasteless.
Whether it is the camera or PC DIY industry, the secondary screen is mostly aimed at niche people, and they have clear enough needs.
For smartphones for the general public, the "secondary screen" is more like a differentiated element, which is somewhat similar to the design, material and color matching of the back cover.
▲ The Touch Bar was the "secondary screen" on the MacBook, but its positioning has not been clear enough.
The secondary screen made of color ink screen is also avoiding the defect of energy consumption, and the folding screen or larger folding device is avoiding the crowding of space.
The point of making the "secondary screen" counterattack is not how to complicate the functions of the secondary screen, but to create something that is sufficiently differentiated while displaying basic information.
After all, for the general public, "flashy" may be more attractive.
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