Have you ever tried to look at your screen through a pair of sunglasses, only to find yourself staring at a black or distorted display? Most mobile devices suffer from this problem, which can make them nearly unusable in broad daylight.

While product innovation and screen protectors have improved screen visibility, it’s still an issue. AppleInsider is reporting that Apple has done some serious investigating, and might have a solution to the “glaring” problem…

The blog has uncovered an Apple patent that describes an LCD display that emits circularly polarized light by placing a layer in the path of linearly polarized light. Confused yet?

The filing explains that the polarized filters in sunglasses block light from LCD screens when viewed at different angles, causing display distortion. This is because the filters only allow in certain kinds of lights, moving in certain directions, opposite of typical LCD screens.

Apple’s solution to the problem is a layer that sits atop the liquid crystal display, converting linearly-polarized light into circularly polarized light. It then projects that image to the user, reducing perceived distortion due to linearly-polarized filters.

Apple’s iPhone 4 screen has been widely criticized for its poor performance in direct sunlight due to the glass casing, so technology like this would be welcome in future iDevice models.

What do you think? Is your iPhone display suitable for outdoors?

  • Burge

    Cody you wrote this post …do you understand any of that ? That went straight over my head .. Lol.. LCD screens will always suffer from bright sun light…

  • I was trying to read my book earlier outside and ended up flipping through 2 pages before being turned off by the annoying glare. I really enjoy reading my books on the iPad but I’m starting to think buying a kindle might be better. Also I was wearing my sunglasses outside and found it easier to read the screen then without.

    • Ernesto Castellanos

      Your sunglasses are oriented so that you don’t see the refracted polarized light rays. Some sunglasses are not polarized and that’s why they distort the screen of their phones.

  • Hakan

    something else what i’m gonna say but the volume from the iPhone really needs to grow up ! ( jep, bad english)

  • Jason Mason

    thats “retarded”

  • Lost

    When wearing my polarized sunglasses it looks distorted for sure. It’s not really distorted it’s just you see rainbows in the screen. That’s the polarized effect on some things. I see the same on some types of window tint while driving. It’s not really a sun friendly device but that’s ok, not the end of the world but a fix would help.

    • Ernesto Castellanos

      I don’t know what idevice u have but, since your polarized sunglasses only let certain light rays into your retina of your eyes, you are getting light rays from different angles. When white light is refracted off a prism (in this case an iDevice) the white light may be dispersed in different directions at different frequencies. Different frequencies cause different colors and this is why you see rainbows.

  • Lost

    When wearing my polarized sunglasses it’s not really distorted it’s just you see rainbows in the screen. That’s the polarized effect on some things. I see the same on some types of window tint while driving.

  • david

    ipod touch dosent seem to bad of subjckt cody can you teel me if you know anny one that has a problem with ther home butten on 4th gen ipod touch

  • Giraffe

    Aww, just when I’ve learned to not wear sunglasses ever… ah well

  • Ernesto Castellanos

    Haha. That picture with the wave makes me laugh… I would always complain to my teacher that we never use trig in life… But I guess I was wrong. This is a good example.

  • Apple has gone better nowadays.. Thanks for informing us about this one