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Apple rumored to tap TPK for 'iWatch' nanowire touch panel components

post #1 of 5
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Apple has turned to longtime iPhone and iPad touch module supplier TPK to provide silver nanowire-based touch technology for the so-called "iWatch," according to a Wednesday report from Taiwan.

Silver nanowire
Magnified view of silver nanowire mesh | Source: Cambrios


TPK is expected to ramp up production of the next-generation sensors in the second quarter of this year, sources told the China Times. TPK is currently a top supplier of touch panels for Apple's iPhone and iPad, which use more conventional indium tin oxide technology.

Taipei-based TPK will produce the panels through subsidiary TPK Films, a joint venture between TPK, Japan's Nissha Printing, and Silicon Valley firm Cambrios, makers of the silver nanowire ink. The group expects an initial manufacturing output of 2 million panels per month.

Created from a mesh of silver wires approximately one nanometer in diameter, silver nanowire-based touch films boast several advantages over current indium tin oxide designs. The material is exceptionally clear, and its conductivity means that the displays do not need additional sensors to determine touch location.

In addition, silver nanowire films are flexible. This means they can conform to uneven surfaces, like multifaceted or curved displays -- Cambrios also cites the material's ability to be applied to touch surfaces that can be folded or rolled.

The report also echoes previous sentiments that Apple will turn to flexible AMOLED display technology for the iWatch's display, though conflicting reports -- including one from well-connected analyst Ming-Chi Kuo -- suggest that the company will instead choose more conventional displays like those used in the iPod nano. The report also suggests that Apple will protect the display with three-dimensional Gorilla Glass from Corning, rather than a sapphire cover as has been previously rumored.
post #2 of 5
I don't get these rumors. Is Apple introducing this product in 2014 or not? The way we keep hearing about hirings and supplier sourcing doesn't indicate a soon-to-be-released product to me.
post #3 of 5
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Originally Posted by pmz View Post

I don't get these rumors. Is Apple introducing this product in 2014 or not? The way we keep hearing about hirings and supplier sourcing doesn't indicate a soon-to-be-released product to me.

Or… perhaps we keep hearing about hirings and supplier sourcing because the version 1.0 product is about to be announced/release. With so much focus on Apple it's very hard for them to make any step without some ripples making it to the net but it also means that anything that could resemble an Apple interest or some less than honest site, like DigiTimes, can also cause these ripples. Personally, I think 2014 is likely for a new product launch for a wearable.

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

 

Goodbyeee jragosta :: http://forums.appleinsider.com/t/160864/jragosta-joseph-michael-ragosta

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"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

 

Goodbyeee jragosta :: http://forums.appleinsider.com/t/160864/jragosta-joseph-michael-ragosta

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post #4 of 5
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post
The report also echoes previous sentiments that Apple will turn to flexible AMOLED display technology for the iWatch's display ...

 

I wonder if flexible AMOLED could allow Apple to have an edge-to-edge display in the "iPhone 6."

Not knowledgeable about AMOLED or LCD technology at all, but it seems that all displays require a bezel.

Possibly for the wiring connections required to address all those pixels.   Hence the bezel on all iPhones.

 

But if AMOLED is flexible, is it be possible to bend the long-edge connector/bezel downward at 90 degrees?

Right at the pixel / edge connector line?  That might make it possible to have near-zero-width long-edge bezels.

Which would make it possible for Apple to increase screen area without increasing enclosure footprint too much.

Sure, there are other issues like home button size/shape (especially now that it contains the Touch ID sensor.)

But anyway, it's just a thought.

Sent from my iPhone Simulator

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Sent from my iPhone Simulator

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post #5 of 5
Quote:
Originally Posted by pmz View Post

I don't get these rumors. Is Apple introducing this product in 2014 or not? The way we keep hearing about hirings and supplier sourcing doesn't indicate a soon-to-be-released product to me.

First off, most of these reports are rumors, so some of the reports will be about products NEVER to make it to market, like the iPhone nano of several years ago. Secondly, some reports are spawned because Apple may be prototyping a product or design possibility that will come to market different from what was rumored. The longer it takes to come to market, the more likely it will look and operate different then expected. Finally, this rumor is about a possible material that Apple MAY use for any number of possible products including products Apple has not made yet, for a market Apple has not entered yet, and the rumor mongers haven't yet dreamed that Apple may be focusing upon.

And now, you want an answer on whether this rumor might apply to a product to be released in the remainder of THIS year???
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