Rumor: Apple's 12.9" 'iPad Pro' to feature silver nanowire touch panel, debut in 2016

Posted:
in iPad edited May 2015
Apple is rumored to have requested samples of new silver nanowire material for thinner touch panels, potentially for use in a jumbo-sized 12.9-inch "iPad Pro," according to a new report.

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


Citing unnamed sources in the supply chain, Korea IT News reported on Monday that Apple just this week requested silver nanowire material samples from LG Display, Samsung Display, Japan Display and others.

One person who spoke with the publication said they believed the so-called "iPad Pro" will not be released until next year, which would be later than the 2015 window some recent rumors have suggested. The rumor was first spotlighted by G for Games.

Silver nanowire touch panels are more flexible than current touch technologies. The report suggested that the material could better understand the pressure placed by a person's fingertip, suggesting that nanowire is more conducive for bringing Force Touch technology to the iPad.

AppleInsider's own sources indicated earlier this month that the 12.9-inch "iPad Pro" will indeed include Force Touch input, sensing varying levels of pressure. The new touch input method is currently available on the Apple Watch, as well as the latest 13-inch MacBook Pro and all-new 12-inch MacBook.




The larger iPad is also expected to feature NFC technology, which could allow it to serve as a payment receiving terminal for Apple Pay. It's also rumored to feature a USB-C port and a new Bluetooth-based stylus accessory for more input methods.

Monday's report isn't the first time Apple has been rumored to be looking into nanowire touch panel technology. In February of 2014, well before the Apple Watch was announced, it was said that Apple had investigated nanowire components from TPK for its then-rumored wrist-worn accessory.

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.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 12
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,191member
    Until there's a product, it's all rather pointless to speculate.
  • Reply 2 of 12
    thewhitefalconthewhitefalcon Posts: 4,453member
    Until there's a product, it's all rather pointless to speculate.

    True, but this is rather interesting to note. There will be a physical minimum thinness point for a large device like this, unless they're planning to make it flexible.

    It does point to FT on the iPad being much more accurate than it could otherwise be.
  • Reply 3 of 12
    flaneurflaneur Posts: 4,510member
    If true, another example of how "the marketing company that never invents anything" ends up advancing the stste of the art for the rest of the industry.

    Previous examples include in-cell touch technology, patented and developed by Apple, and the dual indium-tin oxide film (DITO) that caused such delays with the iPad mini, kept its price higher, and reduced margins in initial rollout months.

    Needless to say, this level of sweating the details goes generally unappreciated and unreported, unless maybe I missed some AnandTech-like treatment of the subject. But they and other tech sites aren't interested in displays particularly.
  • Reply 4 of 12
    evilutionevilution Posts: 1,360member
    Quote:



    Originally Posted by Flaneur View Post



    If true, another example of how "the marketing company that never invents anything" ends up advancing the state of the art for the rest of the industry.

     

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post



    Apple just this week requested silver nanowire material samples from LG Display, Samsung Display, Japan Display and others.



    Not sure how Apple is inventing something for a display when they have requested samples from at least 3 display companies. These companies must already have these displays, make the displays and have tested them. They wouldn't just have this wire laying around for no reason.

     

    3M and www.cambrios.com teamed up and have been making these touch screen panels since December 2013.

  • Reply 5 of 12
    satchmosatchmo Posts: 2,699member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post



    Until there's a product, it's all rather pointless to speculate.

    It wouldn't be Monday without another iPad Pro rumour...click bait and page view quotas to fill. 

  • Reply 6 of 12
    inklinginkling Posts: 731member
    Thinner would also mean lighter and, given the size of this one, it could easily end up a bit too heavy to hold in one hand for an extended time much like my iPad 3. Every gram Apple can save would be a plus.

    I just hope they don't go nutty over thin like they do with other products. Most users are likely to put it in a case that'd negate that thinness anyway.
  • Reply 7 of 12
    geekygeeky Posts: 10member

    I think it would be cool to have a bigger iPad but unless they make the software better for a bigger screen it's pretty much useless

  • Reply 8 of 12
    pscooter63pscooter63 Posts: 929member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Inkling View Post



    Most users are likely to put it in a case that'd negate that thinness anyway.

     

    Doesn't it logically follow that a case for a thinner device would also net thinner dimensions than one designed for a thicker device?  How does that negate a dimensional advantage?

  • Reply 9 of 12
    flaneurflaneur Posts: 4,510member
    evilution wrote: »


    Not sure how Apple is inventing something for a display when they have requested samples from at least 3 display companies. These companies must already have these displays, make the displays and have tested them. They wouldn't just have this wire laying around for no reason.


    3M and www.cambrios.com teamed up and have been making these touch screen panels since December 2013.

    I didn't mean to say that all their display advances were their IP. My point, I should spell out, is that Apple comes up with its leading edge products by developing some patentable technologies like in-cell touch, while also developing (financing the production of) technology that other specialist firms come up with.

    They jump on whatever is going to bring the image closer and clearer to the glass and you, or whatever is going to refine touch sensing, as examples. They get little credit for this persistent strategy. They must have spent a billion on developing IGZO, for example, and hundreds of millions on LTPS production, more millions on various film and glass bonding production techniques, all virtually unnoticed and unappreciated, and probably not patented by Apple.

    So I guess I'm glad to see this story come out now, but I do wish for some perspective.
  • Reply 10 of 12
    How about missing the obvious? That this is for next year's model, and launch without it this year.
  • Reply 11 of 12
    evilution wrote: »
    [CONTENTEMBED=/t/186206/rumor-apples-12-9-ipad-pro-to-feature-silver-nanowire-touch-panel-debut-in-2016#post_2722099 layout=inline]Quote:[/CONTENTEMBED]
    flaneur wrote: »
    If true, another example of how "the marketing company that never invents anything" ends up advancing the state of the art for the rest of the industry.
    Apple just this week requested silver nanowire material samples from LG Display, Samsung Display, Japan Display and others.


    Not sure how Apple is inventing something for a display when they have requested samples from at least 3 display companies. These companies must already have these displays, make the displays and have tested them. They wouldn't just have this wire laying around for no reason.


    3M and www.cambrios.com teamed up and have been making these touch screen panels since December 2013.

    What impresses me the most about Apple is its willingness to move technology from laboratory (not necessarily Apple's laboratory) to commercial product inclusion. For decades, in the past, leading edge design was used by military products for a number of years before it became feasible in commercial products. I feel Apple has shortened that process by years and the costs by several orders of magnitude, while not relying on new technology to work its way through the military any longer. Any displays currently in existence may be proof-of-concept displays, and not yet in commercial production.
  • Reply 12 of 12
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,828member
    It is late in the evening and only ten posts to this thread. Makes me wonder what the real interest in iPad Pro is.
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