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LED monitors: what you need to know

While Apple’s plans detail efforts in the recycling and collection program for iPods, with the elimination or reduction of chemicals such as arsenic, mercury, and fire retardant products, Jobs also offered some detail on the future; and is that Apple plans to introduce Macs throughout 2007 in which LED backlighting is used. LED backlighting will replace the fluorescent lamps currently used in LCD monitors in Apple’s product line.

What are the implications of this change? For Apple it means the elimination of mercury on the company’s screens. According to Jobs, mercury and arsenic are industry standard materials used in LCDs. The former is used in fluorescent lamps to illuminate LCDs, while the latter is added to prevent defects in the glass used in such monitors. These chemicals pose a risk to the environment, particularly when users dispose of these types of products.

Apple plans to use arsenic-free glass in its monitors. (Apple indicates that a small part of integrated circuits will contain a minimal amount of arsenic, since it is an element used in the substrate of semiconductors.) The switch to backlighting based on LED technology (light-emitting diode) would eliminate the use of mercury in monitors.

Apple has already used LED backlight technology in its iPod product line for some time. Other hardware manufacturers have also incorporated LED backlights into their monitors. For example, NEC has been selling a 23-inch monitor for a number of years using this technology. The NEC monitor (LCD2180WG-LED) uses a matrix of 48 LEDs in three colors (red, green and blue) whose combination allows to emit white light. Through this technology, NEC indicates that it has been able to significantly increase the color gamut on its monitors, with the ability to reproduce 109 percent of the Adobe RGB color space.

NEC also indicates that LED technology offers longer life compared to fluorescent-based backlighting, thus increasing the life span from 25,000 hours to 50,000 hours. Another important feature of LED technology, especially for mobile users, is that it consumes less power, which translates into longer battery life.

On the other hand, what I have been able to notice is that the NEC monitor is notably thicker, although on a desktop computer it does not make a noticeable difference.

Both Sony and Asus have started making ultra-thin sub-notebooks with an 11.1-inch screen using LED backlighting. I assume that in such equipment, where the same precision in color reproduction as provided by Nec’s monitor is not required, a matrix of white diodes is employed, thus eliminating the need for the additional space required to combine the three colors in the display. backlight production.

Faced with a longer useful life of the monitors that use this technology, the lower consumption carried out and other advantages there is also a negative aspect: the price, ostensibly higher than a model with similar characteristics whose backlighting is based on the use of fluorescent lamps.

Surely the price affects the way in which Apple implements the LED backlight technology in its monitors, especially if we take into account the open letter from Jobs in which he indicated that “it is technically and economically feasible.” Taking these parameters into account, it appears that the “LED” laptop would be the first to use such technology, where it could be implemented more easily (and more economically) compared to, say, the 30-inch Apple Cinema Display. .

However, keep in mind that we are only speculating, and that Apple has not officially announced any product plans.