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21 April 2024

iPhone 6: Production of transparent, scratch-free touchscreen starts

[Picture Credit: Patently Apple]

By Vicky Kapur

Images of the ultra-sensitive touchscreen by Sharp – yes, the one on which we can write with an ordinary pencil or pen – are now out, fuelling rumours that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) will be using the technology for its next-gen iPhone 6.

Sharp Corp has developed the new display technology that brings up to 8 times higher sensitivity to a capacitive touch panel. While it might not be the world's slimmest screen (that honour has been currently reserved by LG, the new display for the upcoming iPhone 6 is likely to be pencil-friendly.

As we reported in March, a killer feature that the next iPhone might sport is the ultra-sensitive touchscreen, which will allow users to scribble notes on the screen with an ordinary pencil or pen – without the need for a specialist stylus.

Among the advantages of the new screen is that, unlike the other scratch-free technology of Sapphire glass, this one isn’t heavy.

Apple Inc. will however not be the first one to introduce the pencil-friendly screen, such is the competition in the smartphones domain. In late June, Sony Mobile unveiled the Xperia Z Ultra with a 6.4-inch screen size and what the Japanese company claims is “the world’s slimmest and largest full HD smartphone.”

But that isn't all of it. The Xperia Z Ultra launch gives everyone else in the phablet race something to compete with: The new Sony phablet adds handwriting recognition and will work with any graphite pencil, capacitive stylus or metal pen with tip diameter of over 1mm.

De facto, the Xperia Z Ultra has become the first mainline device to support handwritten notes on the screen using a regular pencil or pen.

The new display technology is obviously a boon to smartphones manufacturers as, apart from the fact that it allows users to write on the screen, it is thin and light, and will reduce the overall weight of the devices.

In fact, rumours suggest that new technology will enable Apple to drastically reduce the display’s thickness, in effect reducing the weight even further. In the overall price-dynamics of smartphones, shipping costs are a major component, and every gram saved translates into huge savings for a company like Apple.

Consider this – Apple shipped 134 million smartphones last year, and although we can’t claim to know Apple’s shipping costs for those smartphones, if Apple manages to save Dh1 per smartphone in shipping costs by making it that much lighter, it will save Dh167 million (projected smartphone shipments) in 2013.

Even if our math isn’t accurate, the logic is sound: lighter screens equal lower shipping costs equal savings. And we don’t need to tell you that a penny saved is a penny earned.

Anyways, back to the cool Sharp touchscreen. The new screen allows users to operate their smart devices in the winter using gloves, and more importantly, it’ll be the first time in history that a user will be able to write on a display using an ordinary pen or pencil for taking notes.

Additionally, this new technology is no fantasy or work of fiction – not even a prototype. It’s real – according to Patently Apple, production of the new displays began on March 15, 2013.

And since Sharp is a key iPad display supplier for Apple, there is every chance that the new iPhone 6 - and the iPhone Mini - might feature the new tech-screen from Sharp.