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Apple Patents In-Cell Technology Used In Next Generation iPhone 5

Here is further proof that the next-generation iPhone will integrate the latest in-cell technology: just the other day, Apple received a patent for touch screen LCD technology integrating touch sensors into the display, which results in a thinner, lighter display.
iPhone in-cell technology
US Patent No. 8,243,027 for a “Touch screen liquid crystal display” has put several methods on paper in which the touch screen’s touch sensors are integrated into the LCD display. The current technology used in manufacturing the iPhone 4S is a glass-on-glass, or on-cell, which means the touch-sensitive capacitive element is placed between the display unit’s top glass and a protective Gorilla Glass layer. The in-cell technology patented by Apple removes the necessity to use the top glass layer, as it combines the liquid crystal touch and sensing elements into one single structure.

By integrating the layered structure of an LCD and a touch sensor, a variety of benefits can be achieved. This integration can include combining or interleaving the layered structures described above. Integration can further include eliminating redundant structures and/or finding dual purposes (e.g., one purpose for the touch function and another for the display function) for particular layers or structures. This can permit some layers to be eliminated, which can reduce cost and thickness of the touch screen LCD, as well as simplify manufacturing, the patent reads.

As the in-cell technology can be used with in-plane-switching panels—which can be found in the iPhone 4S’ Retina Display—Apple describes a concept regarding an in-cell IPS panel, providing touch-sensing capabilities, by allowing the same electrodes used for display update to also be used for touch sensing.

In contrast, because the IPS embodiments discussed below can use the same electrodes used for display control and touch sensing, higher touch resolution can be obtained with little to no additional cost. Alternatively, a number of touch pixels can be grouped to produce a combined touch signal with a lower resolution.

Ever since the technology went mainstream, it has been rumored that Apple will use it. It will finally arrive in the display of the iPhone 5, as multiple sources have already confirmed. The technology is quite new, but display makers from Taiwan have already taken steps a couple of years ago to make in-cell technology available for mass production. [Via AppleInsider]

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