Apple’s sixth-generation iPhone will be even slimmer than before thanks to superior panel technology, latest supply chain heat suggests.
According to sources in the Far East, the Cupertino-based giant is reportedly considering a switch from the on-cell panels currently in use on iPhones to the “cutting edge” in-cell display technology from Sharp and Toshiba Mobile Display (TMD) for its next handset.
In-cell screens eliminate the middle layer of glass of their on-cell counterparts, by combining the LCD and the capacitive touch layers together, making the screen considerably thinner. They are also cheaper, thus driving down cost of production.
IHS analyst Rhoda Alexander told Wired: “The advantage of in-cell is that you're streamlining the manufacturing process, so in time you should be able to drive efficiencies and reduce cost.
"Additionally, by reducing the number of layers, you reduce the size and thickness of the device, making it thinner and lighter."
KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claims that in-cell panels could trim at least 0.44mm off the handset’s depth, making it possible for the next iPhone to be an impressive 7.9mm thin.
Meanwhile, Digitimes reports that the adoption of the in-cell touch panels, if it happens, “will also have a significant impact on the operations of Apple's current touch panel suppliers TPK Holdings and Wintek”, which specialises in the production of glass on glass touch displays.
However, TPK, which is working on its own single-glass touch solution, brushed off any concerns, stating that the market is big enough for both technologies to co-exist.