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iPad’s Screen Goes Totally Black In Portrait Mode When Viewed With Sunglasses [Update]

by on April 8th, 2012

This one is really interesting folks. As pointed out in a recent post by iMore (via CoM), it appears that you simply cannot view anything on your iPad in Portrait mode while wearing your polarized sunglasses as it turns the screen totally black. I know it sounds crazy but seeing is believing (see video below). According to the source, this only happens on the iPad since other tablet and smartphone manufacturers have solved the issue by either setting the “extinction” of the screen to 45 degrees or putting in new compensating films.

Screen expert Ray Soneira from DisplayMate explains it to ZDNet:

Using polarized sunglasses all iPads go black in Portrait mode. Other displays go black in Landscape mode. Much better is for the manufacturer to set the extinction at 45 degrees so the display looks good in both Portrait and Landscape modes. The Motorola Xoom behaves this way. Best of all, with compensating films this effect can go away almost entirely.

The iPhone 4 and Samsung Galaxy Tab have no extinction at any angle (just a small color shift). The effect should only apply to LCDs because they use polarized light internally. So OLEDs also should not show any such extinction effect.

Take a look at the following video, or better yet, try it out yourself!

Update 1: In an updated post by iMore, just rotate your iPad into either landscape or portrait mode when you have your polarized sunglasses on:

If you experience a black screen with your sunglasses on turn the iPad 90 degrees… i.e. if it’s black in portrait rotate it to landscape and vice-versa. (Different polarized sunglasses will work in different orientations).

The effect is dramatic, gradual and proportional to the amount of turn.

It happens because the lenses block light polarized in one dimension and LCD panels produce light polarized one (potentially different) dimension as well. Coatings on some panels reduce this effect in order to reduce reflection/glare at the cost of lower ‘compatibility’ with polarized glasses. Sometimes they oppose each other and no light gets through. It’s sort black magic if you don’t understand what happening.

 

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Posted under: iPad News

  • Voodoo_ca

    This was the same on my original iPad….

  • Prailor

    thats nothing new, polarized lenses have that effect, same thing happens with every debt machine i use when wearing my sunglasses

  • JH

     Agreed.  I fail to see why this is even news.  I guess some people will always find something to complain about