Apple Looking to Improve Outdoor Screen Visibility?

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?