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Apple last week – #5 – In-cell touch panel to cut down 0.4mm in iPhone5 thickness

Apple had been researching hard to cut down on the thickness of the next iPhone for a long time and now it seems that a probable in-cell touch panel could cut down up-to 0.4mm of thickness.

In-cell touch panel: iPhone could be slimmer by 0.44mm over present glass-on-glass technology

Ming-Chu Kuo, KGI Securities analyst had confirmed the recent hearsay over Apple switching over to in-cell touch panels in next iPhone. According to his findings, using the in-cell touch panel over conventional glass-to-glass solutions; Apple could cut down the next iPhone’s thickness by as much as 0.44m. The new design of display having t1he touch sensor embedded within the TFT LCD lessening the thickness by up-to 0.44mm.

Apple has already experimented with a thinner battery and metal back to cut down the thickness. With in-cell panels Apple is doing everything to keep pace with the rival smartphones. Presently iPhone 4S is about 9.3mm thickness, but with 0.96mm saved by a possible thinner battery and metal case alongside 0.44 mm from in-cell touch panel, Apple may be eyeing a below-8mm iPhone late this year.

According to Kuo, better, efficient and cost-effective ‘supply chain management’ and production line may have also prompted Apple to switch to the new in-cell technology. Contrary to glass-on-glass technique, where assembling takes place a much later stage increasing the production losses in case of a bonding failure. Kuo also went on to add that the new in-cell technology is set of quicker in production, efficient and reliable owing to the bonding occurring at a later stage. Other analysts have also opined on the issue that in-cell design would be requiring three semi-finished items while bonding( instead of earlier six) which along with three less production procedure would substantially cut down the ‘production days required’ to 3-5days.

Apple’s switch to in-cell design: Display manufacturer LGD, Sharp, Toshiba’s gain, TPK’s pain

With Apple’s prospective switch to in-cell design, traditional panel makers like TPK is expected to have their orders from Apple drying up quickly—the intensity may pick up in third quarter, this year. Interestingly, display maker LGD. Sharp and Toshiba Mobile Display is expected to bag up most of the in-cell touch panels orders from Apple. Also, the in-cell design boasts of lesser lead time thus being capable to make exact tailor-made products cutting down production costs by about 10-20%.

With the new iPhone anticipated third quarter of 2012, Apple may also drop down the suffixes (read version) from the iPhone’s name also may boost of 4G LTE connectivity. This move may be similar to the strategy Apple adopted with the new iPad it launched in Feb 2012.

Finally, Apple has a great financial results in the first quarter of 2012. Read next.


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