There’s a small but real segment of the iOS accessory market that thrives because of the iPhone’s inability to be used while wearing coverings over your hands. Little capacitive stickers you sew onto the finger pads of your gloves so you can use your iPhone’s touchscreen, or gloves with capacitive thread sewn right into the fingers.
As winter fast approaches, you might even be thinking of buying yourself one of these accessories… but a recent development in the technology of touchscreens might obviate the need for these accessories entirely if Apple brings them to future devices.
As pointed out by Patently Apple, Hitachi has just developed a new projection-type touch panel that can detect insulators like plastic and cloth when they are pressed against the glass.
Not only would these touch panels make it easy to use your iPhone on a cold winter day, but it would also allow styluses without a capacitive nub to work as flawlessly as a finger tip.
Hitachi’s new range of touch panels come in sizes appropriate for installation on both the iPhone/iPod Touch and iPad, so it’s within the realm of possibility that Apple will choose to deploy them for future devices.
The sooner the better, I say. There’s simply nothing more unpleasant than your finger freezing against the glass of the iPhone you pluck out of your pocket on an antarctic winter’s day.