A recently-discovered Apple patent application offers an intriguing look at a possible future for the iPad (and perhaps iPhone/iPod touch as well). AppleInsider reports that Apple is looking at placing a translucent e-ink display between the LCD display and the touch-sensitive interface layer allowing for selective display of content by regions.
E-books could be displayed in the ink format, while pictures and video could use the full-color LCD-screen. While a similar duality of purpose can be found in switchable displays like the Pixel Qi screens we’ve mentioned a few times, this Apple-patented system would go one better in that it would allow text to be displayed in e-ink and color pictures to be displayed in LCD at the same time.
Of course, such a display would probably still have the backlight eyestrain problem some attribute to LCD (in that you’re reading by looking into an emitting light source rather than a reflected one). And for that matter, is a translucent e-ink layer even possible? I thought e-ink modules had to be black or white. But I suppose if it is possible, Apple will find a way to do it.