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Is This the New iPhone’s Touchscreen?

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By Jeremy Horwitz

Editor-in-Chief, iLounge
Published: Thursday, June 5, 2008
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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.

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Comments

1

I would be very disappointed if future iPhone screens were smaller, but I could definitely see the nano switching to a touchscreen display.

Posted by Galley in Greenville, SC on June 5, 2008 at 7:24 AM (PDT)

2

iPhone nano for the wife!  Woohoo!

Posted by Adam on June 5, 2008 at 7:51 AM (PDT)

3

I don’t buy it.  The spacing of the “home” button is far too low for my (and Apple’s) taste.  The original home button was perfectly centered, with mere millimeters between itself and the screen.

I smell a clone.

Posted by kohl on June 5, 2008 at 8:09 AM (PDT)

4

Seems legit to me.

The increased space at the bottom seems indicative of a *thinner* iPhone. I say this because to me, it’s reminiscent of the iMac’s “chin” that everyone intially hated, but that was required to fit the electronics in a thin enclosure.

Posted by Jerrod on June 5, 2008 at 9:04 AM (PDT)

5

” to give future iPhones enough ear-to-mouth distance to be functional as handsets.”

this doesn’t make sense as a phone mic can be placed almost anywhere - whereas the ear piece placement is critical

Posted by paul on June 5, 2008 at 10:24 AM (PDT)

6

Smaller screens on the iPhone are NOT the way to go.  In fact the current screen is slightly too small.  Higher resolution, and perhaps OLED for increased contrast and reduced power are fine, but not smaller.

Posted by Bob on June 5, 2008 at 11:07 AM (PDT)

7

Why isn’t anyone else thinking about this…. if the screen is smaller… you just turn it sideways to type and you end up with a bigger keyboard than the current model iphone.

get out of the box dudes

Posted by ihatefall on June 5, 2008 at 11:10 AM (PDT)

8

Totally a Knockoff.  But to knockoff a smaller version either means Apple IS coming out with a iPhone/iPod Touch Nano or the knockoff manufacturers are getting smart and putting their own spin on a product that sells.

Posted by larry on June 5, 2008 at 11:10 AM (PDT)

9

I could maybe see some people wanting something smaller but personally, I want something bigger.grin

Posted by Marc on June 5, 2008 at 11:32 AM (PDT)

10

based on the iphone specs in the recently released patent it seems like there will be a front mounted camera (for video conferencing). these panels clearly dont reflect that so im hesitant to call this the new face of the 3g iphone

Posted by Zach on June 5, 2008 at 11:59 AM (PDT)

11

ziss I du not believe…

Posted by Patrick on June 5, 2008 at 1:04 PM (PDT)

12

Did anyone notice the small hole on the front bottom left hand corner? That could be the camera hole.

I am thinking a small version would have a slide out keyboard. Would make sense, since some people hate the virtual keyboard. Both could come in a 3g/edge version.

Posted by Bryan on June 5, 2008 at 1:10 PM (PDT)

13

@Mark
“I could maybe see some people wanting something smaller but personally, I want something bigger.”  That’s what she said to me, too.  :p

Honestly, I hope Apple comes out with a tablet, but so many people says it’s not likely based on the fact that it won’t fit properly in the present Mac lineup.  $600 or $700 dollars drops it right in MacMini territory.  Maybe if the MacMini is killed off.  I don’t think Apple likes making it’s lineup too large.

I think a tablet that’s about twice the size of the iPhone would be great, but could Apple find an audience for it.  Tablets have never sold all that well, but maybe Apple will have the magic touch.

Posted by Constable Odo on June 5, 2008 at 1:35 PM (PDT)

14

Totally possible. Maybe the guy who let out the photos doesn’t read english and just signed up the non-disclosure agreement without knowing what it is tongue laugh

But I think this is totally possible and the reader who says he’d be disapointed by smaller iPhones will be a lot happier when he hears about the new 4” and 7” mini-tablets coming out soon, probably announced at the WWDC…. a full line of touch devices, a new revolution…

Posted by XamaX on June 5, 2008 at 1:38 PM (PDT)

15

2.8 or 3.5”, everyone has different preference. My old imate/XDA II mini with a 2.8”, is much better than original XDA II. It had a bigger 3.5” screen, but what a brick to carry.  In any case, new iPhone(s) will be great and finally will be available in Australia and other countries.
More iPhones = more people going to iTunes and buying music. Thank you Steve!
David, Odessa Mama Records, Australia

Posted by David Faiman on June 5, 2008 at 3:30 PM (PDT)

16

probably another rumor…
i wish it was june 9th i HATE rumors!

Posted by anthony______ on June 5, 2008 at 4:13 PM (PDT)

17

I saw the hole at the bottom, but do you that could be the cam 4 videoconferencing? Looks a tad bit tiny to me. I do wanna see how that would play out on the 3G iPhone. Come on June 9th!!!

Posted by Apple_Samurai on June 5, 2008 at 7:40 PM (PDT)

18

Apple is well known to seed false product mockups or to initiate false rumors. With only a short while to the big reveal I’d say that those who believe this one should give me a call because I’ve got some land for sale…

Posted by Apple_wise on June 5, 2008 at 10:06 PM (PDT)

19

it looks like a htc touch screen

Posted by marioj on June 6, 2008 at 11:06 AM (PDT)

20

“based on the iphone specs in the recently released patent it seems like there will be a front mounted camera (for video conferencing). these panels clearly dont reflect that so im hesitant to call this the new face of the 3g iphone”

I beg to differ. you can see that there are two holes in the upper right corner on the top picture. one of these for the existing sensor and another for the video camera.

Posted by Joe on June 6, 2008 at 12:48 PM (PDT)

21

awww y smaller screen. they should kill the black areas and just make it a full screen and a button like on the side or something. those new looks are not quite to my tastes, but maybe the iphone has a keyboard….BEHIND IT WOOOHOOO. dont mind a chubby iphone, do mind the width since well…my last iphone didnt quite fit in my hoodie front pocket LOL

Posted by junele on June 6, 2008 at 2:37 PM (PDT)

22

definitely it will be disappointing move, if taken… its beauty is in its large screen size…steve jobs, should remember that, many android phones will get launched towards the end of this year!!!

Posted by Justin Joseph on June 6, 2008 at 4:22 PM (PDT)

23

Please do not give nanos a touch screen. Keep the click wheel forever, it is perfect! How can you navigate around a touch screen when it’s in your pants pocket? You can’t, but with a click wheel you can. Also in the dark, at night, in bed, etc.

Long live the Apple click wheel!

Posted by Lamb Saag on June 7, 2008 at 7:37 AM (PDT)

24

I am interested how I can change sensor on iPhone.I ask you to send me information about it. thank you

Posted by kaxa2788 on January 10, 2009 at 1:06 PM (PDT)

25

I would be really ticked if the iPhone screens got smaller

Posted by Darwin Smith II on November 7, 2009 at 1:26 AM (PDT)

26

Fake!!! Look at the bottom picture! Why would an iPhone screen be tested on a Microsoft Windows machine? Its being tested on Windows? This, I believe, is instead an HTC or Windows Mobile handset manufacturer. I’ve seen similar testing at an Apple manufacturing plant in China and the tests are done with specialized Apple software. This is fake!!!

Posted by J Digweed on November 7, 2009 at 1:50 PM (PDT)

27

Bigger, better definition, better batterry, flash camera w/ 5mp, bettersound and that’s it. Is that too much to ask? For a $600 gadget.

Posted by Tito3g on November 8, 2009 at 6:22 AM (PDT)

28

I won’t comment on the possibility it is fake or real.  But I will say I would LOVE apple to make a phone that is a phone first and ICD second. I don’t need to email from my phone, but think Apple makes such quality devices I would buy one.
I also think a phone more akin to the size of a nano with a few iPod-like features would be really nice.
I am probably an outlier, though!

Posted by Bignumone on November 8, 2009 at 7:12 AM (PDT)

29

Give me an iPhone that I can use on any network, and I’ll buy two of them.

Posted by BB on December 16, 2009 at 11:54 AM (PDT)

30

... but please don’t change the size to smaller.

Posted by BB on December 16, 2009 at 11:55 AM (PDT)

31

if you ever took apart an iphone, the cabling is totally wrong. The screen has the cable running through the top of the glass. and there is no flexible film, its all in the glass as well as the connector to the cabling is wrong. Just do your research. This is 100% cheap chinese/korean clone, and the location of the button is definatly off as well with the super thick black border. just to add my 2 cents

Posted by Mark on December 21, 2009 at 8:59 PM (PDT)

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