The OLED display Apple is using in its new iPhone X brings several benefits over current LCD technology, but supplies are likely to be limited at first. Will be benefits of the new screen make it worth the wait? Here’s a quick rundown on OLED (organic light emitting diode) technology and how it differs from today’s LCD (liquid crystal display) screens.

OLED vs LCD. What’s the difference?

LCD screens like those used in previous iPhones and the new iPhone 8 and 8 Plus are built on a backlight—a panel as large as the screen itself that produces a constant white light anytime the screen is on. A series of polarizers and filters are layered in front of the backlight to control the light and produce the image you see on screen. It’s been the dominant technology used in flat-panel displays for almost two decades, but keeping that backlight on draws a lot of power—and that’s a big disadvantage in a portable device.

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