Apple engineers will lead a collection of unusual panel discussions at Display Week, a Los Angeles-based symposium and trade show running from May 20-25 this year, MacRumors discovered today. Apple’s participation is atypical in two ways: Its management typically does not allow engineers to take public roles in events, and several of the topics discuss new technologies not yet found in any Apple product.
The most unremarkable of the discussions is a Monday seminar titled “Artificial Intelligence: Image Recognition and Visual Understanding with Deep Learning Techniques.” Apple has publicly acknowledged that considerable machine learning work underpins its Camera and Photos applications, so the company’s participation in such a discussion — albeit at a display-focused event — isn’t surprising.
More interestingly, one Apple engineer will moderate “Quantum-Dot Displays: Advances and Outlook,” although Apple does not yet use such displays in any of its products. Last November, Apple acquired InVisage, a camera sensor designer focused on quantum dot technology, but the discussion is focused on screens, not sensors.
Additionally, Apple’s director of display optics and platform technologies, Cheng Chen, will chair a three-discussion keynote covering OLEDs, the use of eye-tracking in next-gen virtual and augmented reality reactive displays, blue LEDs, and sustainable smart societies. Other Apple engineers will chair and co-chair discussions on Micro-LEDs and fingerprint/optical sensing displays, amongst other topics.
Like quantum dot displays, Apple doesn’t make any products with Micro-LED screens, eye-tracking reactive displays, or fingerprint/optical-sensing displays. However, rumors have suggested that Apple has been testing the advanced display technologies for products ranging from AR glasses to next-generation Apple Watches and iPhones. The company currently offers AR only within specific iPad and iPhone apps, none with eye tracking or reactive displays.
While it would be highly unusual for the company’s engineers to speak on the record about future products, their roles as moderators and chairs may enable them to ask questions rather than providing answers. Apple has recently allowed its engineers greater flexibility in participating in public events and even gave typically reticent executive Eddy Cue the opportunity to speak somewhat openly today about the company’s upcoming video service, so the Display Week discussions could be interesting.