updated 08:10 am EDT, Wed October 1, 2008
Apple May Ramp LEDs
Apple is once again scaling up its production of LED-backlit displays and the notebooks to match, if a production forecast today proves accurate. Kenmos, one of Apple's key suppliers of LED backlights, is said to be boosting its production from at most 80,000 notebook lights during the summer to 200,000 for the fall, returning to levels unseen since the start of 2008 and the launch of the MacBook Air as well as refreshed MacBook Pros.
How much of this is earmarked for Apple is unknown, though it and Dell have previously been considered Kenmos' primary customers. As many as 70 percent of the LEDs will be used for high-end notebooks, according to the alleged sources behind the forecast. It's not known what criteria would define this split.
Apple has been one of the most prolific users of LED backlights in its portables and first began using them with the 15-inch MacBook Pro in 2007, since then expanding them to the MacBook Air and to an optional screen for the 17-inch MacBook Pro. Dell itself is increasing its LED backlight usage for notebooks in the fall with the advent of its new Latitude line but is making LEDs almost exclusively optional rather than standard.
Apple is known to be revising its MacBook line in the near future and is believed to be redesigning the 13-inch MacBook to use aluminum, though whether this will switch to LED is unconfirmed.
Both companies have publicly committed to adopting mercury-free displays in their lineups and are believed to be using LED backlights as a move towards that goal; Apple has shied away from a timetable and says it's dependent on technology, though Dell has committed to shipping all its notebooks with LED lighting by some point within 2010.