As you may or may not know, there have been many rumors regarding the technology behind the next iPhone’s display. Most of it has been focussed around who’s supplying it (Sharp, not Samsung). We’ve also been hearing a great deal about a new in-cell touchscreen.
A traditional touchscreen phone has the display unit underneath a separate layer that detects touch. This new technology incorporates the touch sensitive material and the LCD. Essentially, making the whole display unit much thinner, and removing any feeling of distance between your finger and what it’s virtually pressing.
Cupertino’s design team finally received the patent for it today (August 14th) and rumors are still strongly suggesting that we’ll see it on the next generation iPhone. As you can see from the image above, the new design has the polarizer as the top layer instead of the touch sensitive layer.
By integrating the layered structure of an LCD and a touch sensor, a variety of benefits can be achieved. This integration can include combining or interleaving the layered structures described above. Integration can further include eliminating redundant structures and/or finding dual purposes (e.g., one purpose for the touch function and another for the display function) for particular layers or structures. This can permit some layers to be eliminated, which can reduce cost and thickness of the touch screen LCD, as well as simplify manufacturing.
While all this may seem a little pointless to some, it will enable Apple to create even thinner phones, and also create a much more tactile display. If there’s one thing I dislike about the current displays it’s the small gap in between my finger and the onscreen icons. That plus not being great in daylight.
It’s still not confirmed whether or not we’ll definitely see this technology debut on the 6th generation iPhone, but, let’s keep our fingers crossed. It’s little things like this that make me appreciate how hard Apple tries to improve absolutely every thing that can be.