WSJ: Next iPhone To Switch To In-Cell Display Technology, Enabling Thinner Screens

BY Rounak Jain

Published 17 Jul 2012

The Wall Street Journal today published a report, which claims that the next iPhone would feature a thinner screen with an improved display quality.

This improvement would be due the use of in-cell touch sensing panels that eliminate the need for a separate touch screen layer, thus reducing thickness.

From the WSJ report:

Japanese liquid-crystal-display makers Sharp Corp. and Japan Display Inc.—a new company that combined three Japanese electronics makers’ display units—as well as South Korea’s LG Display Co. are currently mass producing panels for the next iPhone using so-called in-cell technology, the people said.

[…]

For Apple, the new technology would also simplify the supply chain and help cut costs as it would no longer have to buy touch panels and LCD panels from separate suppliers.

Rumors of Apple switching to in-cell based technologies have been around since April, with a KGI Securities analyst predicting a 15 percent reduction in the next iPhone’s thickness. Topeka Capital Market’s Brian White noticed a steep drop in sales of Wintek’s touch panels earlier this month, and took it as a sign of Apple’s switch to in-cell displays for the next iPhone.

iphone in cell

Apple could utilize the extra room created by the switch to in-cell technology in various ways. It could either cut a few millimeters off the next iPhone’s thickness, or add in a larger battery, which would be  needed to power a larger display and a 4G LTE chip. It could of course choose to take the middle way, slightly reducing the next iPhone’s thickness and marginally increasing battery capacity.