The fifth-generation iPad will use the same touch-panel technology as the iPad mini to allow it to become thinner and lighter, according to “people with knowledge of the matter,” who have been speaking to The Wall Street Journal. The device is expected to look just like the iPad mini, with narrow bezels and a significantly thinner shell, but it will maintain a 9.7-inch Retina display.
“What many consumers generally call a ‘screen’ consists of multiple layers, and the ‘touch panel’ specifically refers to the layer equipped with touch sensors, between the liquid-crystal display and the outermost cover glass,” the WSJ reports. In the existing iPad, that touch panel is glass-based, but the new model will reportedly use a film-based one just like the iPad mini.
While film previously had technical disadvantages when compared to glass, those are no longer a problem now that the technology is more advanced. Furthermore, film-based touch panels allow displays to become significantly thinner and lighter, which is hugely important as Apple tries to shave thickness and weight off the next iPad.
Apple is also expected to make other changes to help make the new iPad smaller, such as modifying its backlighting technology and redesigning its battery, but the device will maintain its popular 9.7-inch Retina display.
Source: The Wall Street Journal