iPhone 5 Will Be Lighter And Thinner Thanks To This New Touchscreen Tech

iPhone 5 Will Be Lighter And Thinner Thanks To This New Touchscreen Tech

Your iPhone’s touchscreen might look just like a single pane of living glass, but there’s a lot more going on than meets the eye. Every iPhone is comprised of multiple layers: an LCD that actually blasts the pixels out of the Retina Display, a glass substrate laye separating the LCD from the touch layer that translates your finger swipes and prods into input the system can read, and a layer of protective Gorilla Glass on top.

Obviously, Apple’s existing touchscreen tech works well, but having so many different layers has its drawbacks. A big one is that it adds to the iPhone’s thickness. But Apple may already be on the cusp of inking a deal with Sharp and Toshiba to adopt in-cell touch panel displays, which should lead to a slimmer, lighter iPhone 5.

An in-cell touch panel display differs from current solutions in that it merges the LCD layer and the touchscreen layer. That reduces thickness while also getting rid of the glass substrate layer required to separate and LCD from the touch layer.

*Digitimes* reports:

The adoption of the in-cell touch panels, if realized, will also have a significant impact on the operations of Apple’s current touch panel suppliers TPK Holdings and Wintek, which are specialized in the production of glass on glass touch solutions currently, said the sources.

In response, TPK said that it is developing TOL (touch on lens) single-glass touch solutions, which will be more suitable for the production of high-end customized devices and that the market will accommodate more than one technology.

Not only will in-cell and TOL panels reduce iPhone thickness, but they will improve Apple’s margins too: less parts means less things which can go wrong in manufacturing, which translates to higher yields. It also means that there’s an extra layer of polishing of the glass substrate that doesn’t need to take place on every iPhone, shaving off a few pennies more.

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  • Nick Cotter

    That looks like shit….. Apple doesn’t ship shit…. It will stick to 3.5 inch 4G as an option and ios 5.2 to start of with

  • Arafo

    Nick, this article is not about the fan-made mock-up in the image, it’s about murmurings of a new display technology that may be used in a future iOS device.

    There’s no need to be rude.

    For what it’s worth, I doubt the next iPhone will ship with anything less than iOS 6 but, like you, I really have no idea.

  • bitsy423

    Does that mean the price will be lower?

  • joewaylo

    @bitsy423: Doubtful. They’ll likely stick with the $199 $299 $399 and eventually $499 if they go from 64GB to 128GB.
    ———————
    @Nick Cotter: The device is an old picture. As many are aware it’s 4G and LTE now. They didn’t update the photo concept to have 4G or LTE printed on it as it would be in October. I have no doubt in my mind it’ll be the same sandwich it is today.

    Apple builds on quality so I doubt it’ll look like this at all.

  • Matthew Gonzales Landry

    128GB for $499 for 128GB? Are you crazy? Apple will either replace the 64 with the 128 or eliminate the 16 and keep 32 (as the base), 64 and 128 at the same prices they are now.

  • sylly

    It’s the second time for me owning an apple product , I am fascinated by them , i’ll be hoping the 128gb would be lighter and don’t get as warm well hot sometimes as my 64gb 4s does and the pricing would make up for it

  • Tallest_Skil

    That looks like shit….. Apple doesn’t ship shit…. It will stick to 3.5 inch 4G as an option and ios 5.2 to start of with

    No, it will be iOS 6. Why you’d think otherwise is beyond me.

  • technochick

    Does that mean the price will be lower?

    unlikely. Despite what John says the margins might not actually be lower because this method might be more costly. or at least as costly

  • Paul Lloyd Johnson

    We have a fifth iPhone, the 4S, are you talking about the iPhone (6th generation)?

  • Ronald Stepp

    We have a fifth iPhone, the 4S, are you talking about the iPhone (6th generation)?

    What is it about iPhone 5, as opposed to 4 or 4S that you don’t understand? Apple didn’t call the 4S the “5th iPhone,” they called it the 4S.

  • Steven Kool

    This type of screen would be amazing! When you use a touch screen now it feels like you’re touching glass covering the magic. there’s a bit of depth in there that makes it less awesome… either way, what I really want to get at was Liquid Metal…

    I’ve heard of rumors that the back of the “New iPhone” (because F*** iPhone 5!) would be made from Liquid Metal. We all know Apple has been testing it’s strengths and usabilities, so would they use it now? It’s extremely light and strong, so that could benefit the iPhone a lot!!!

    One last thing… Waterproofing, There are already phones on the market that can go under water without frying completely. I understand that a touchscreen will never work properly under water, but if it can withstand it that would be amazing!

    We live in a world of mostly water, why is our tech so vulnerable to it?!

About the author

John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is a Contributing Editor. He has also written for Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, VentureBeat, and Gizmodo. He lives in Boston with his wife and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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