Digitimes’ Siu Han and Alex Wolfgram say that Apple’s next generation 9.7-inch iPad will reportedly use the same G/F2 (DITO) thin-film type touchscreen technology as the company’s iPad mini, in order to make the device thinner and lighter, according to industry sources.
When the iPad with Retina display was released nearly a year ago, Apple took some crticism for it being slightly thicker, heavier, and hotter-running than the preceding iPad 2, with no greater computing performance or longer battery life from its nearly 50 percent bigger battery and twice as many cores in the SoC’s graphics engine due to overhead imposed by the ultra-high resolution screen.
Some of that critique was muted with the 4th-Generation iPad release last October, in which the substantially higher performing Apple-designed A6X SoC replaced the A5X of the third-gen machine, but the form factor remained essentially identical save for Apple’s proprietary Lightning hardware connector replacing the familiar iPod-era 30-pin connector used on previous iPads.
Siu and Wolfgram note that Apple’s current 9.7-inch iPad models use a G/G touch screen structure. The sources said Apple’s move to use DITO technology shows the company is looking to hone its competitive edge in the tablet category and that the company has more adequate supply of the technology compared to one-glass-solution (OGS) technology. They report that according to their industry insider sources, the supply chain for the next-generation 9.7-inch iPad will be similar to the iPad mini’s, with Japan-based Nitto expected to supply thin-film materials and Nissha Printing touchscreen modules, Taiwan-based TPK will be responsible for the device’s lamination, with LG Display (LGD) and Sharp providing panels.
Additionally, they note that upstream touchscreen providers are expected to be able to provide 4-5 million units a month throughout 2013 while DITO technology production yields are expected to be greatly improved.
It has also been rumored that Apple will shrink the full-size iPad’s thickness, weight, and footprint by moving to a “marginless” design similar to the iPad mini.
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