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Next iPhone Could Get Get In-Cell Touch Panels

A new wave of rumors surrounding the next iPhone suggest that the device will be getting in-cell touchscreens.

Compared to the current multi-layer touch panel technology, the new screens are thinner and lighter as they allow manufacturers to integrate the touch feature directly into the LCD. The result would be a substantially thinner smartphone and alternatively more room for hardware and new features, which could allow Apple, for example, to design a layered 3D display.

The Internet rumor mill currently pinpoints the possible launch of the iPhone 5 at June 2012, based on a recruiter claim that Foxconn is hiring 18,000 new workers to support the launch of the device.

In-cell display technologies are currently only within reach of Sharp (in which Foxconn has invested heavily) as well as Toshiba, which might put other Apple display suppliers at jeopardy. Digitimes reported that TPK Holdings and Wintek, which could suddenly see their revenues drop, even if TPK said that it is working on touch-on-lens single-glass solutions for smartphones and tablets.

The publication noted that Sharp will be producing in-cell display panels at its 5.5G factories, while Toshiba is moving the technology to 6G and will begin mass manufacturing this quarter.