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New iPhone may be thinner thanks to using in-cell touch panels

Posted: , by Victor H.

New iPhone may be thinner thanks to using in-cell touch panels
The next iPhone may use in-cell touch panels rather than the traditional on-cell panels with glass on top, and Apple may switch its screen manufacturing to Japanese Sharp and Toshiba who are ahred with the technology, according to Taiwanese DigiTimes.

The publication’s sources claim that Apple will use Sharp’s 5.5G production lines and Toshiba’s 6G production lines for the new in-cell touch panels.But what exactly is an in-cell touch panel?

Unlike traditional display manufacturing where there’s a need for an additional glass on top of the display, in-cell touch panels integrate the touch functions directly into the TFT screen. This makes it not only cheaper to make screens, but also allows for thinner devices, as there’s no need for the additional glass. The touch sensors are placed directly into the color filters rather than on top of them. Apple’s adoption is the technology’s chance to make it to the mainstream, so it can eventually end up on other handsets as well.

DigiTimes mentions that if Apple picks Sharp and Toshiba, its traditional screen partners TPK Holding and Wintek will take a big hit in sales. TPK is already preparing a response in the form of touch on lens single-glass touch.

DisplaySearch analyst David Hsieh agrees with DigiTimes’ sources:

"Of course, Taiwanese panel makers are also developing this technology, but Japanese suppliers still run faster [..] compared with on-cell technology, touch panels that use in-cell technology can be made thinner because the touch sensors are actually placed inside the color filters rather than on top of them", he explained."

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posted on 20 Apr 2012, 10:10 2

1. jamrockjones (Posts: 345; Member since: 26 Oct 2011)

Will they be as durable tough?

posted on 20 Apr 2012, 15:17 2

11. sgtdisturbed47 (Posts: 845; Member since: 02 Feb 2012)

Durable? I doubt it. Having that extra glass means that when the device hits the deck, the outer glass will break instead of the LCD itself breaking. With in-cell touch, if it hits the deck, the entire LCD must be replaced.

If this is the evolution of touch-screen smartphones, then we're in for some frustrating times. Phones being lighter and thinner would be great, but at the cost of durability. This is great for retailers, because that means more phones sold because of breakage, unless LCD manufacturers can make the glass more durable.

posted on 20 Apr 2012, 19:45 1

16. PhoneArenaUser (Posts: 5498; Member since: 05 Aug 2011)

When iPhone was durable?

posted on 20 Apr 2012, 10:12 2

2. AppleConspiracy (Posts: 637; Member since: 18 Oct 2011)

I'm using that kind of touchscreen on Cybook Orizon e-reader and considering its 7.6 mm thickness it certainly enables for device to be very thin, and also psychologically providing more "direct" touch communication with the device.

posted on 20 Apr 2012, 10:17 5

3. theoak (Posts: 324; Member since: 16 Nov 2011)

More room for a larger battery to feed the LTE radios ;)

posted on 20 Apr 2012, 10:29 1

4. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5993; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)

Or, a thinner handset. Wasn't HTC talking about how consumers were wanting thinner handsets? Imagine an iPhone with the thickness/thinness of todays iPod Touch.... Of course, the Droid RAZR is already there, with the exception of the camera hump.

posted on 20 Apr 2012, 10:56

5. groupsacc (Posts: 232; Member since: 28 Feb 2012)

Super Amoled already utilises this technology.

posted on 20 Apr 2012, 11:15

7. r41nier (Posts: 70; Member since: 13 Oct 2011)

I think it was the Super Amoled Plus.

posted on 20 Apr 2012, 13:08 2

9. pbui.818 (Posts: 78; Member since: 06 Feb 2012)

The "Super" is Samsung's way of denoting the touch panel portion.
The "Plus" is Samsung's way of denoting the RGB subpixel matrix.

groupsacc is correct.

I wish Samsung could surprise us all with 5.0 inch FHD Super AMOLED Plus. (1920×1200).
Technically, that'd be WUXGA but since Samsung uses "HD" to denote 1280×800 or 1280×720, their "FHD Super AMOLED" can denote 1080p or WUXGA.

posted on 22 Apr 2012, 12:41

17. Goldeneye (Posts: 419; Member since: 22 Jan 2011)

Why every Apple related article Samsung is brought ? At least Remix didn't started it this time.

posted on 20 Apr 2012, 11:08 6

6. android_hitman (unregistered)

it's not even MAY!! SGSIII is not out yet!! please don't start with iphone 5 rumors...

posted on 20 Apr 2012, 11:39 1

8. gwuhua1984 (Posts: 1237; Member since: 06 Mar 2012)

Since the article mentioned Japanese manufacturers. To tell the truth, I would really like to see some Japanese branded smartphones in the US. My kids will love to have a Disney phone.

posted on 20 Apr 2012, 16:10

12. pbui.818 (Posts: 78; Member since: 06 Feb 2012)

Japanese companies Toshiba and Sharp are challenging Korean companies Samsung and LG in display technology supremacy even where Sony is falling down.

Fujitsu has demonstrated some cool ideas for the recent trade shows.

posted on 20 Apr 2012, 13:20

10. pbui.818 (Posts: 78; Member since: 06 Feb 2012)

Toshiba has the ~500ppi display tech. 498ppi 6.1" 2560×1600! Amazing.
If they scale it down to ~4.6 inches, we can have an iPhone with 1920×1280!

A tangent digression:
I think it would be clearer if the industry used areal pixel density rather than linear pixel density.
pixels per inch square instead of pixels per linear inch.
linear pixel density can be confused by whether it's measured along an edge or diagonally. If pixels aren't perfect squares then you have another problem of deciding whether to measure the horizontal or vertical.

posted on 20 Apr 2012, 18:36 2

14. Schuler28 (Posts: 26; Member since: 26 Oct 2011)

the human eye can only see 300PPI so it would be pointless and a waste of money. make better battery's more durable and slimmer instead of a supper hi res screen that will eat up the battery so damn fast sheesh!!!

posted on 20 Apr 2012, 19:24 1

15. pbui.818 (Posts: 78; Member since: 06 Feb 2012)

Apple told you only part of the story because it served the company's purpose.

That would be true if nobody had better than 20/20 vision and everyone had the exact same visual field. Since everyone does not have the same visual field, they do not all hold displays at exactly the same distance.

If it was true that the human eye can only see 300dpi, then we never would have had 600dpi printers. Nobody would have paid for it and nobody would have been able to tell the difference. The fact is most people could tell the difference.

There are actually many who have 20/15 vision and some that have 20/8. That means those people can see at 20 paces as well as the standard person would have to get down to 15 paces to see as well. Or respectively, they can see at 20 paces as well as the "standard" person can see at 8 paces.

For those people, 300ppi is nice but not as good as it can get and not optimal. It is still grainy and unsatisfactory at their typical viewing distance.

In fact, if we did the math, there is a significant part of the population that can distinguish detail at the 540ppi level from their optimal viewing distance.

We should be investing in better batteries in any case. Current phones don't last through the day.

posted on 20 Apr 2012, 18:34

13. Schuler28 (Posts: 26; Member since: 26 Oct 2011)

Yes I always wanted my screen to break easier:)

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