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Apple: Eyeing New “Touch-on Display” Technology for Next iPhone

Apple's iPhone 5 | Apple Official Website

Apple’s iPhone 5 | Apple Official Website

It was rumored that Apple is considering a new display technology for its next-generation iPhone. Dubbed as “touch-on,” the new display technology addresses the issue with the current “in-cell” display technology found in iPhone 5.

The In-cell Touchscreen Technology Issue

Apple’s iPhone 5 marks the debut of in-cell touchscreen technology. This allows a thinner design by combining the touch sensor and display into one component.

Prior to this, rumors of Apple’s adoption of in-cell panels surfaced in the company’s overseas supply chain for a couple of months. It was then proven to be true when iPhone 5 was released.

However, the component encountered an issue, wherein the screen pauses or appears to ignore touch input. It is evident when rapidly swiping back and forth diagonally on the iPhone 5’s touchscreen.

Initial reports suggested that the glitch was indeed a hardware problem, which was related to the mobile phone’s in-cell touch panel. The issue was first discovered by iOS app developer CMA Megacorp. It is unclear what is causing the issue, although the problem was replicated by UK product comparison website Recombu.

The website made a head-to-head comparison of iPhone 5 and iPhone 4S. They also tested both iOS 6 and iOS 6.0.1, each showing signs of graphical glitch. Due to this, the website suggested that the problem is due to iPhone 5’s hardware, although they declined to give further explanation. As pointed out by AppleInsider:

If it is indeed a hardware-related issue, the main change between the screens of the iPhone 4S and iPhone 5 is the implementation of new in-cell display technology, which could point to an overflow in the on-board touch-controller’s memory buffer. However, at this point any guesses are mere speculation.

Last Thursday’s reports from The China Times supports this conclusion, explaining that the technology has embedded the TFT touch panel and touch sensors on the same side. As a result, iPhone 5’s display exhibits interference. There were also claims that production issues of the in-cell touch panel led to supply constraints of the iPhone 5.

Touch-on Display from Chimei Innolux

On the other, it was rumored that Apple contracted Taiwan’s largest LCD maker—Chimei Innolux—for the next-generation panels set for the next iPhone. The Cupertino-based company’s interest on the new panel technology is said to be prompted by the interference problems found on iPhone 5.

Chimei Innolux’s touch-on display’s technology is said to be both thin and durable, while offering better touch-sensing capabilities.

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