As noted by Patently Apple, the United States Patent & Trademark Office recently published an Apple patent application titled “Systems and Methods for Preventing Light Guide Plate Scratching Artifacts.”
Here’s a quote from the background information Apple supplied in the patent application:
Electronic displays commonly appear in electronic devices such as televisions, computers, and phones. LCD pixels do not produce their own light. Rather, a backlight unit lights the LCD pixels from behind. The backlight unit may include a light source, a light guide plate, and a diffuser. The light source emits light into the light guide plate, which distributes the light across the diffuser. The diffuser diffuses the light into the LCD. Since the materials that form the light guide plate and the diffuser may stick to one another, a binder material and beads may be placed between the light guide plate and the diffuser to perform an anti-wetting function. During vibration reliability testing or certain real-world use cases, however, the beads could scratch the light guide plate. When the beads scratch the light guide plate, undesirable display screen artifacts appearing as white spots may occur.
In layman’s terms, Apple’s new technology could potentially offer a solution that completely eliminates the artifacts and imperfections in displays. These artifacts (which are much more pronounced on larger screens such as TVs) are often created when the lighting behind a display panel gets scratched, and Apple’s addition of a self-healing layer has the potential to eliminate these artifacts.
The imperfections targeted by Apple’s new patent are minute individually, but together they can have a significant impact on the viewing experience. By eliminating them with a self-healing layer that protects a screen’s backlight, future iPhones, iPads and even Mac computers could have some of the smoothest and most beautiful displays in the world.