In-cell touch panels produced by Sharp and Toshiba may be implemented in the next-generation iPhone which Apple will be releasing sometime later this year, most probably in October.
Unidentified sources claim that 5.5G production lines by Sharp and 6G lines by Toshiba Mobile Display (TMD) will be present in the next iPhone. The two companies are said to take part in panel manufacturing and will heavily be ramping up production of the next iPhone for Q2 of the current year. The sources also note that Sharp and TMD have persuaded Apple to choose Japan-based panel makers as the partners for its next generation iPhone production.
To basically define the benefits of in-cell touch panel technology, here is what we get: via in-cell touch panels the touch functionality is integrated into the thin-film transistor production process, while the need for the additional glass usage is eliminated. This helps to cut costs as well as enables Apple to develop a thinner and lighter device in total.
The companies that supply Apple with touch panels include TPK Holdings and Wintek. These two firms, currently specializing in production of glass on glass touch solutions, will significantly (negatively) be impacted by the deal if it comes true.
Davis Hsieh, analyst at Display Search, agrees that the new technology will definitely be utilized by Apple. Here is what Hsieh commented:
"Of course, Taiwanese panel makers are also developing this technology, but Japanese suppliers still run faster [..] compared with on-cell technology, touch panels that use in-cell technology can be made thinner because the touch sensors are actually placed inside the color filters rather than on top of them", he explained."
We do not know whether it is true or just another speculation about the upcoming iPhone, but as anything in the world of Apple buzzes – this one too should be taken with a grain of salt. Do not hesitate to express your opinion about the upcoming iPhone 5 below in the comments.