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.
- ConnectSense Smart Outlet adds power monitoring, reduces price
- Automatic releases new Automatic Lite version of car monitoring accessory
- Apple releases fourth tvOS 10.0.1 beta
- iOS dev finds unimplemented one-handed keyboard in iOS code
- Apple sends out press invites for ‘Hello Again’ Oct. 27 Mac event
- Apple releases fifth beta of iOS 10.1 to developers
- Apple partners with builders to include HomeKit-enabled devices in new homes
- Report about Apple Pay in Japan hints at Oct. 25 release for iOS 10.1
- Apple Pay adds 20+ new U.S. banks and credit unions, MBNA Canada coming ‘mid-2017’
- Misfit launches Phase smartwatch
- Incase Icon, Pop, and Textured Snap for iPhone 7/7 Plus
- Philips Hue Motion Sensor
- Bowers & Wilkins P9 Signature Headphones
- Tech Armor FlexProtect and Shock Flex for iPhone 7/7 Plus
- SwitchEasy Flash and Fleur for iPhone 7/7 Plus
- Blue Microphones Raspberry Mobile Microphone
- Incipio Haven for iPhone 7 and Reprieve Sport for iPhone 7 Plus
- Mophie Hold Force Magnetic Case System for iPhone 7
- Speck Presidio and Tech21 Evo Tactical for iPhone 7
- Belkin Lightning Audio + Charge Rockstar
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of watchOS 3
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of tvOS 10
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iOS 10
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Photos gets Advanced Computer Vision
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Music app delivers ‘clarity and simplicity’
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Maps gets a major redesign
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 shakes up the user experience
- Inside the betas: watchOS 3 promises a real speed boost
- Inside the betas: A sneak peek at what’s new in tvOS 10
- Filling the Gap: A look at third-party HomeKit apps