Supply chain
Digitimes Research: Apple to push forward with In-Cell touch technology in 2015 but highly considering G/G for 2016
Jen-Chieh Yang, DIGITIMES Research, Taipei

Industry rumors have stated Apple will go back to using G/G touch technology in iPhones due to ongoing production issues with In-Cell touch panels. If this were to occur, the earliest effect wound be in iPhones released in 2016, as the next iPhone, currently being referred to as iPhone 6S, will still use In-Cell technology, according to Digitimes Research.

Market observers have recently noted that Apple is in discussions over whether to go back to G/G instead of In-Cell technology for future iPhone devices as the technology is currently struggling with various production bottlenecks that are preventing Apple from adding new features as well as increasing resolutions. As a result, touch panel makers are aiming to create G/G touch panels that would allow Apple to create smartphones similar in thickness to current iPhones equipped with In-Cell touch panels. G/G touch panels may also help Apple develop bezel-free smartphones as In-Cell touch panels reportedly are struggling with touch sensitivity on the edges. Additionally, In-cell touch panels also make it difficult for vendors to pursue higher resolutions including Ultra HD (4K) due to current bottlenecks, the observers said.

Digitimes Research also found that TPK in particular is developing new solutions that use a G/G substrate and ITO thin film and has currently reached a thickness of 8.5mm. However, the company believes it can further decrease the size and bring it closer to a thickness of 7.1mm, making TPK a possible alternative candidate over current In-Cell provider Japan Display (JDI).

If Apple were to make the move, JDI could potentially incur huge losses since it has been investing heavily into the technology. While it is still not 100% clear what Apple will decide, the company has been impressed with the AMOLED display and G/G touch panel sensitivity and features found in the Apple Watch. Supply chains also told Digitimes Research that Apple believes its supply chain could be more simplified if it were to use G/G panels, as it would cut down on overall production time.

While Apple is now considering this new arrangement the company will not be able to use the G/G technology in the upcoming iPhone 6S since production plans for the device have already been established for quite some time, making 2016 a much more likely time-frame, added Digitimes Research.

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