Is This the New iPhone’s Touchscreen?
Apple almost never confirms its component suppliers, and for various reasons, the suppliers only rarely confirm that they’re working with Apple. That’s the only major reason that we’d normally be skeptical about what’s shown below: the first pictures and diagrams of a touchscreen display that a Taiwanese company claims is being used in an upcoming iPhone. It’s a 2.8” display—shown here alongside a newer 3.2” version—two sizes that would enable Apple to start shrinking both iPhones and touchscreen iPods from the current 3.5” screen size found in its first-generation models.
The developer of these displays, Host Optical, has shown what it describes as a “projected capacitance touch panel,” complete with a collection of characteristics that it suggests are superior to the ones being used in the original iPhone. According to the company, the displays have “no significant” aging effect—they don’t get progressively less sensitive over time—and are claimed to be more durable than alternatives, waterproof, plus resistant to high humidities and temperatures. Since one of the major concerns over current-generation iPhones is the continued touch sensitivity of their screens, Host’s version could be a nice step up.
Also significant are the sizes the display comes in. The 2.8” screen is shown as having a 52.6mm (2.1”) by 67.7mm (2.7”) component footprint, with an actual viewing area of 45.6mm (1.8”) by 60mm (2.4”). An additional 15-20mm (0.6”-0.8”) of height is added by the black frame with Home button hole, providing a place for the screen’s control circuitry and connector to rest as well. A newer 3.2” version is closer in size to the current-generation iPhone’s front face.
To be clear, we believe that there is zero chance that a 2.8” screen is going to be in Apple’s first 3G version of the iPhone, but as a component for an iPhone mini/nano, as well as a fourth-generation iPod nano, it makes a lot more sense. Notably, Host’s displays place two and only two sensors off to the right of the ear speaker, a detail that doesn’t track with what we’ve heard about the 3G model. Another difference is the size of the black frames, which have significantly more space between the screen and Home button than current iPhone faceplates. Changes such as these would be precedented in Apple portable designs—the initially unusual rebalancings of iPod nano screen and Click Wheel locations relative to the iPod mini and full-sized iPod, for instance—and might also be necessary to give future iPhones enough ear-to-mouth distance to be functional as handsets.
While any company can claim that it’s supplying parts for a new iPhone, to the extent that Host is doing so, and has both samples and diagrams to offer as proof, we’re intrigued. As we’ve previously noted in Backstage, we’re still not sure how Apple will pull off the tricky act of downscaling the current iPhone OS to a smaller display, as typing on a 2.8” screen’s keyboard would be one of a few real challenges, but between UI changes and the prospect of a slide-out keyboard, nothing’s impossible for future iPhones. Seeing how it ultimately all plays out will be very interesting.
If you have a comment, news tip, advertising inquiry, or coverage request, a question about iPods or accessories, or if you sell or market products, read iLounge's Comments + Questions policies before posting, and fully identify yourself if you do. We will delete comments containing advertising, astroturfing, trolling, personal attacks, offensive language, or other objectionable content, then ban and/or publicly identify violators. Wondering why we're talking about something other than iPods? Check the Archives: Backstage has been here and kicking it since 2004.
- CBS CEO Moonves notes Apple talks have stopped
- Apple will source iPhone 7 ‘A10’ CPU solely from TSMC
- Federal bill aims to take regulatory power for phone encryption out of state hands
- Job post shows Apple emphasizing new complications, faces for Apple Watch
- New comments hint at forthcoming streaming TV service from Apple
- Apple Music available on Sonos starting today
- Screen protector installation now available at Apple Stores
- Russia mulling tax increase on App Store purchases, other Apple services
- Lawyers threaten to sue Apple over ‘Error 53’ codes disabling iPhones
- Apple releases iOS 9.3 beta 3, tvOS 9.2 beta 3, watchOS 2.2 beta 3 to developers
- Vicks SmartTemp Wireless Smartphone Thermometer
- Gumdrop Cases DropTech Case for iPad Pro
- Edifier MP700 Rave Portable Bluetooth Speaker
- Just Mobile HoverDock for Apple Watch + HoverDock for iPhone
- VRS Design Dandy Layered Case for iPad Pro
- Just Mobile TENC for iPad Pro
- Native Union DOCK Lightning
- Native Union DOCK for Apple Watch
- Hitcase Pro+ Action Pack and Snap for iPhone 6/6s
- Urban Armor Gear Trooper for iPhone 6/6s
- Inside the betas: What’s new in iOS 9.3 and tvOS 9.2 (Updated)
- Life with HomeKit: Our experiences with Apple’s home automation system
- Under the Radar: 10 ‘hidden’ details about the new Apple TV
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iOS 9.0
- Under the Radar: A closer look at smaller iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus changes
- A First Look at iOS 9’s Transit in Apple Maps (Updated for watchOS 2)
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iTunes 12.2
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iOS 8.4 + Apple Music
- CE Week 2015: IK Multimedia, Monowear’s Apple Watch bands + More
- Live From CE Week 2015: Brand New iPad, iPhone + Mac Accessories!