DigiTimes recently reported that Apple may be using in-cell touch panels in the upcoming model of its flagship smartphone, iPhone. How true is that, we cannot tell since DigiTimes has a rather mixed record of Apple-related predictions. What we do know, or have now been told by an analyst, is that with the of these panels, Apple may be able to take iPhone’s thickness down by 0.4mm.
This new information has been reported by Ming-Chi Kuo, who is an analyst with KGI Securities. DigiTimes, while claiming that Apple will use in-cell touch panels had already stated that with the use of these panels, Apple may be able to reduce the thickness of the upcoming iPhone. And now, Kuo has confirmed this.
According to Kuo, the touch sensors will be embedded in the TFT LCD of the possible new design of iPhone. This essentially removed one touch sensor layer and one layer of adhesives, allowing Apple to trim the thickness of iPhone by as much as 0.4 mm. Currently, Apple’s iPhone 4S is 9mm thick. Kuo is of the opinion that to stay ahead of other smartphone vendors and their cutting-edge smartphone designs, Apple may be aiming at take down the iPhone’s thickness to 8mm.
Can this even be possible? If Apple makes use of a thinner battery together with replacing glass on the back with metal, this could eliminate another 0.96 mm from the thickness of the device. The result will be 7.90mm thick iPhone, which is Kuo’s prediction too.
In his report, Kuo notes, ‘Another advantage of using in-cell touch is the shorter lead time for touch panel, its most valuable component, and adjusted activities at the supply end, allowing more precisely tailored products to meet market needs, eventually reducing production costs by an estimated 10-20%.’
If Apple does decide to go with in-cell touch panels, one of the many beneficiaries will be Sharp, Toshiba Mobile Display and LG Display, three chief vendors of these panels. While Kuo opines that we may be able to lay our hands on the next iPhone during the third quarter, there have been reports that it could be as early as this summer.