Apple’s iPhone 5 will use a display integrating touch-screen technology into the LCD, making the device thinner and offering a response to Samsung’s challenge
In the intensifying smartphone battle between Apple and Samsung, it is Apple that has next to show its hand. What it plans to reveal is a super-thin iPhone made possible by new display technology, The Wall Street Journal reported on 17 July.
“Japanese liquid-crystal display makers Sharp Corp. and Japan Display – a new company that combined three Japanese electronics makers’ display units – as well as South Korea’s LG Display Co. are currently mass producing panels for the next iPhone using so-called in-cell technology,” The Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.
The report explained that the display technology “integrates touch sensors into the LCD, making it unnecessary to have a separate touch-screen layer”.
The absence of a separate touch-screen could reduce the width of the phone by half a millimetre, in addition to improving the quality of the images displayed.
In May, Samsung made its latest move, introducing the Galaxy S III, a smartphone with a tremendous 4.8-inch display but still a width and weight (8.6mm and 133 grams) that comes in well below the 9.3mm and 140 grams of the iPhone 4S, with its far-smaller 3.5-inch display.
Samsung managed the trick – a goal of the device, Samsung spokespeople have shared, is that when you pick it up, it feels far lighter than you expect it to, given its size – in part with its organic light-emitting diode (OLED) display. Because they don’t require backlighting, as The Journal explains, OLED displays can be thinner than traditional LCD displays.
While the benefits of the in-cell technology are many, a drawback is that they’re harder to manufacture.
“People familiar with the situation said that LCD makers are finding the manufacturing process challenging and time-consuming as they scramble to achieve high yield rates,” wrote The Journal.
Samsung is a primary manufacturer of OLED displays, as well as new “flexible” OLED displays. In May, Apple Insider, citing The Korea Times, reported that Samsung had received a “huge” order for the flexible OLEDs, which gave way to rumours that the order had come from Apple.
However, the Korea Times didn’t suggest the flexible screen was intended for the iPhone 5, but for a possible future device called an “iPhone Yoga”, wrote AppleInsider.
Of course, there is no shortage of speculations about what is intended for the iPhone 5.
Widely expected is a break from Apple’s now-modest display size to one that’s at least 4 inches on the diagonal. Another easy bet is that the smartphone will include 4G Long-Term Evolution (LTE) technology.
The rumours have also included talk of Apple finally including near-field communication (NFC) technology, which many people were surprised to find missing from the iPhone 4S; possibly upgradable camera components; a quad-core processor; an October release date; a look more in line with that of the iPad; and “liquid metal components”.
This last rumour also came from AppleInsider, which wrote that a Korean IT news site had reported that “the iPhone 5 is likely to take liquid metal, an alloy of zirconium, titanium, nickel, copper and so forth, having an outer surface smooth like liquid”.
Samsung, with the Galaxy S III, also created a new process to turn out the texture and Pebble Blue color option, and describes the phone as “inspired by nature“.
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