The WSJ today is reporting that the next iPad will feature the same touch panel technology as the iPad mini, ultimately making the device thinner and lighter.
The same touch-panel technology that made the iPad mini thin and light will likely feature in the next iPad, which is currently being produced by Apple Inc.’s Asian suppliers, according to people with knowledge of the matter.
What many consumers generally call a “screen” consists of multiple layers, and the “touch panel” specifically refers to the layer equipped with touch sensors, between the liquid-crystal display and the outermost cover glass. The iPad mini, according to a teardown report by research firm IHS iSuppli, uses a film-based touch panel, which is thinner and lighter than the glass-based touch panel that the current full-size model uses. Following the iPad mini’s success, Apple plans to use the film-based touch panel in its next regular-size iPad, the people said.
With this film-based technology, Apple can greatly reduce the thickness of the device as well as creating a clear, bright display found in the iPad Mini. Leaked front panels and digitizers surfaced last week which claimed to be next generation iPad parts. If this rumor is true, the iPad 5 will likely be a scaled up version of the iPad mini, taking other design cues from the smaller device such as a thinner bezel, stereo speakers, and the same black/slate coloring.