Apple Shifts Touch Sensing Technologies in Smartphones and Tablets

Apple’s Latest iPhone and iPad Shifting Market Trends

by Anton Shilov
07/23/2013 | 08:51 PM

Apple’s adoption of two new touch sensor structures – in-cell for the iPhone 5 and GF2 (double-sided ITO film) for the iPad – has produced shifts in the touch-panel industry supply chain.

 

According to the latest analysis from NPD DisplaySearch, displays with in-cell touch are expected to rise from 7.3% of mobile phone shipments in 2012 to 13.7% in 2013, while shipments of GG DITO (double-sided ITO glass) structure are expected to decline from 10.3% to 0.6%. For tablet PCs, shipments of GF2 sensor structure are expected to rise from 4.7% in 2012 to 28.4% in 2013, while shipments of GG DITO structure decline from 37.2% to 8.1%.

From 2007 to 2011, Apple used GG touch sensors for its iPhones, and then switched to in-cell technology for the iPhone 5. Apple used GG for its iPads from 2010 to 2012, and then switched to GF2 for the iPad mini in 2012 and for the iPad in 2013.

“Mobile phone and tablet PC touch technologies and sensor structures are evolving quickly, due in large part to Apple’s move away from GG structure to in-cell touch technology and GF2. Apple’s high market share in these categories means that any technological movement is felt throughout the component supply chain,” said Calvin Hsieh, research director at NPD DisplaySearch.

The Q2 2013 touch panel market analysis also finds that Windows 8, which was released in October 2012, has had trouble influencing the notebook PC market. Affordable tablet PCs are cannibalizing sales of devices that are running Microsoft’s new operating system.

Even so, touch panel penetration in notebook PCs is expected to rise to 18%, primarily because of price declines for one glass solution (OGS) touch modules and an increase in the penetration of low-cost strengthened sensor glass (SSG). NPD DisplaySearch forecasts that OGS will account for 83.5% of notebook PC touch sensors in 2013, while SSG will reach 5.6%.

“The consumer electronics industry is now waiting to see whether touch technology can help turn the tide in declining notebook PC shipments,” said Mr. Hsieh.