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In-cell touch panels expected to shave 0.4mm off Apple's next iPhone

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
A new analysis claims a switch to in-cell touch panel technology from current glass-on-glass solutions could reduce the thickness of Apple's 2012 iPhone by 0.44mm.

KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo recently issued a report agreeing with recent rumors that Apple will introduce in-cell touch panels on its next iPhone. According to his research, the new display design, which would embed the touch sensor within the TFT LCD, could result in thickness savings of as much as 0.44mm by removing the separate touch sensor layer and one layer of adhesive.

Apple's current-generation iPhone 4S is 9.3mm thick. Kuo believes the company is aiming to break the 8mm mark with its next handset in order to stay competitive with thin designs from rival smartphone makers.

He calculated that a thinner battery and the rumored switch to a metal back instead of glass could result in further reduced thickness of 0.96mm. As such, Kuo predicts that the depth of the next iPhone will measure 7.90mm.

In-cell technology


The analyst also cited "more efficient supply chain management" and improved production yield as reasons that Apple would adopt the in-cell technology. With the current glass-on-glass design, bonding occurs at a late stage in the production process, thereby resulting in "significant losses" if the bonding fails. Kuo believes in-cell production is quicker and and more efficient because bonding comes earlier in the process.

The new process would require an estimated three semi-finished items at bonding, compared to the six required to produce the iPhone 4S. Additionally, production procedures could be cut from eight to five. The analyst also suggested that the number of production days required could drop from 12 to 16 to three to five.

In-cell technology


"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%," Kuo wrote.

The switch would reportedly involve the use of Optical Clear Resin (OCR) instead of Optically Clear Adhesive (OCA). OCR bondings can be re-done, while current OCA bondings can't. Though OCR bondings have had low yields in the past, an open-cell technique addresses these issues.

If Apple were to switch to in-cell panels, conventional touch panel makers, such as TPK, would likely see a substantial decline in panel orders. KGI downgraded TPK to an underperform rating on the assumption that the company's shipments will "start to fall considerably" in the third quarter of 2012.

"As the smartphone market is dominated by large players, lost iPhone business won?t be made up by orders from other smartphone brands," he said.

Toshiba Mobile Display, Sharp and LG Display are believed to be the companies that will benefit from orders of in-cell touch panels by Apple.

Kuo believes Apple will release its 2012 iPhone in the third quarter of this year. Several other reports have put forth early fall as the likely time frame for a new iPhone launch, though a handful have claimed that the device could arrive as early as this summer.

Apple is expected by many to drop the numbering system for the iPhone as it has with the most recent iPad. As such, the sixth-generation iPhone may simply be referred to as "the new iPhone." Multiple reports have claimed that the Cupertino, Calif., company's next handset will also follow the iPad's lead by incorporating 4G LTE connectivity.
post #2 of 19

I'm pretty sure that Apple went for this because of the shorter lead time. I can't imagine the Apple R&D guys all huddled around a touch screen complaining about how thick it is. They'll easily lose more than that by using Gorilla glass 2 on the front and liquidmetal on the back.

post #3 of 19

So why does apple is not using battery as the phone's frame?  This also can reduce the phone size (and thickness).

post #4 of 19
Use that .4 for extra battery thickness. The current 4S is the right thickness for me.
post #5 of 19

Silliness.  The first question any decision-maker from Apple would ask - unasked here - is will this technology perform as well or better than existing.  Diminishing thickness as an advance doesn't mean squat if performance isn't maintained.

post #6 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by ghostface147 View Post

Use that .4 for extra battery thickness. The current 4S is the right thickness for me.

Agreed. If the iPhone got much thinner, I would worry about not being able to hold it securely. I'd much rather have better battery life than a thinner phone.
post #7 of 19

Similar thickness with a bit more battery would be my guess. I'm a big fan of thin phones, but going thinner than the iPhone 4S isn't a meaningful advantage. The next iPhone will presumably have LTE, and even with Qualcomm's forthcoming lower power chip will require more power. Bumping up battery capacity to compensate for that would be the logical move for Apple, which has always been very conscious of maintaining a balance of features.

post #8 of 19

I would love a thinner iPhone. Bringing the TFT closer to the glass is also better for giving the impression of "touching" the icons and contents of the phone.

post #9 of 19

0.4mm??

 

Do you guys even know how much that is...?

 

It's like...NOTHING.

 

Well, maybe not "nothing" but it's very little. It will only make sense to use it for Battery.

post #10 of 19

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Kuo believes the company is aiming to break the 8mm mark with its next handset in order to stay competitive with thin designs from rival smartphone makers.

If that is his only reason for why Apple would do this then don't believe it. 

 

Apple doesn't do anything just on the basis of staying competitive. Not their style. 

 

Now if there is something else like say better battery life, cheaper to construct, etc then they will do it. But doing because the other boys are doing it was never Steve's style and this is the one area where I think, no matter what Steve said when he retired, Tim et al will do as Steve did. 

 

A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

(She's family so I'm a little biased)

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A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

(She's family so I'm a little biased)

Reply
post #11 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by macboer View Post

0.4mm?? Do you guys even know how much that is…? It's like...NOTHING.

 

Not when the device is fewer than 10mm tall, it's not.

Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone] exists, it doesn’t deserve to.
Reply

Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone] exists, it doesn’t deserve to.
Reply
post #12 of 19
It may be next to nothing in thickness savings, but add the thinner glass for gorilla glass two, the thinner case of liquid metal, and the space saving/alteration of the guts of the phone, it makes a difference. It all adds up.

Thinner phone? More battery space?

Apple is a company that can deliver one of those with out blinking an eye.

I'm hoping, with good direction, it can deliver both.
post #13 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Evilution View Post

I'm pretty sure that Apple went for this because of the shorter lead time. I can't imagine the Apple R&D guys all huddled around a touch screen complaining about how thick it is. They'll easily lose more than that by using Gorilla glass 2 on the front and liquidmetal on the back.


Did you read the article? they will shave 960 micrometers(0.96 mm)from the phone with the in-cell touch screen/dsplay, metal(liquidmetal) and the gorilla glass 2.

actually i think they are huddled around the iPhone to make it thinner... in the apple design studio... you should read the Walter Isaacson book; it would shed some light on your comments...

(and of course the late Steve Jobs' "get-it-done-right" personality... )

After looking at the side profile of many iPhones in people's hands, i think it needs to be thinner.
post #14 of 19

SMH reading all those comments from Commentards! :>

post #15 of 19

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

 

Not when the device is fewer than 10mm tall, it's not.

 

It still reminds me of the Howies (UK) jeans advert copy-line...

 

"Angled belt loops save you 0.6 seconds per belt loop. Although

 if you're looking to gain that extra time, it may be worth looking

 at other areas of your life aside from getting dressed."

post #16 of 19

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Evilution View Post

I'm pretty sure that Apple went for this because of the shorter lead time. I can't imagine the Apple R&D guys all huddled around a touch screen complaining about how thick it is. They'll easily lose more than that by using Gorilla glass 2 on the front and liquidmetal on the back.

 

Agree.  If Apple has lowered the cost of the Liquidmetal technology (and if it's recyclable enough), they could use it in the enclosure of "the new iPhone."  The benefits could be huge.  Liquidmetal alloys can be up to twice as strong as titanium alloys and nearly as strong as steel alloys.  The enclosure could therefore use less material, for a thinner overall form factor.  And it can be molded like plastic since the Liquidmetal alloy is non-crystalline, and doesn't need to be melted down to liquid form to be shaped.  That translates to lower energy costs and fewer manufacturing steps during production.  (And it's also highly corrosion- and scratch-resistant.)

Sent from my iPhone Simulator

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Sent from my iPhone Simulator

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post #17 of 19

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ghostface147 View Post

Use that .4 for extra battery thickness. The current 4S is the right thickness for me.

 

Apple has shown that it will not hesitate to make a flagship product thicker.

post #18 of 19

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by macboer View Post

0.4mm??

 

Do you guys even know how much that is...?

 

 

 

 

More than 6 sheets of light paper.  

post #19 of 19

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by macboer View Post

0.4mm??

 

Do you guys even know how much that is...?

 

It's like...NOTHING.

 

Well, maybe not "nothing" but it's very little. It will only make sense to use it for Battery.

 

In relation to overall thickness, .4mm is pretty significant. The difference in your hand would be instantly tangible. 

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