Jul 24 2013, 4:58pm CDT | by Deidre Richardson
DigiTimes is back in the news again, as the company has decided this time to focus on new rumors regarding what Apple is up to in production mode. The new rumors circulating the web today pertain to new touch screen technology in the iPad 5, as well as Apple’s current dilemma over which LCD screen will be placed inside the iPad Mini 2.
First, DigiTimes claims that the iPad 5 will feature dual ITO technology, what many call “DITO,” “ditto,” or “GF2” technology. Supposedly, dual ITO (Indium Tin Oxide) technology will make the iPad 5 screen thinner than that of either the iPad 4 or iPad 3 (Apple’s first Retina display tablet). Currently, tablets such as the Nexus 7 (2012, not the newest Nexus 7 announced today) rely on a G/G touch structure, or regular ITO, for their touch screens. The iPad 5 will use dual ITO and will be lighter and thinner than the iPad 4.
We do not know if Apple will use dual ITO (or GF2) in the iPad Mini 2. What we do know, however, is that the new dual ITO technology, while making the iPad 5 thinner, will also result in higher cost for the tablet. Apple may not pass the price increase on to customers, seeing that the iPad only costs somewhere between $200 or so to produce (which means that Apple makes at least $300 from each new iPad it sells). Our favorite fruit company will certainly pass the price on to its customers if the iPad Mini 2 comes with a Retina display.
As for the iPad Mini 2 screen, Apple faces a dilemma regarding oxide TFT (thin-film transistor) vs. LTPS-TFT (Low Temperature Polycrystalline Silicon) displays. Both displays are LCD (as the LTPS name signifies), but LTPS displays are expensive and cannot be used in large amounts. Oxide TFT displays are used for high resolutions, such as Retina display panels, but the oxides have been known to cause damage when subjected to high temperatures and electrical voltage. This may explain why Apple is tempted by the thought of the low-temperature silicon displays instead.
At this point, however, Apple is torn regarding this decision because its three display manufacturers (LG, Sharp, and Samsung) are split on which displays to manufacture. While Sharp wants to go with its new oxide TFT displays, LG and Samsung are strongly in favor of LTPS displays because they believe the oxide TFTs do not live up to their claim of power consumption reduction.
Increased power consumption in devices such as smartphones and tablets can lead quickly to electric shock and consumer death for device users. While many believe that the debate over which display panel to use is an insignificant one, Apple’s choice will have ramifications for iDevice users in the future.
Last but not least is the dilemma over the Retina vs. non-Retina iPad Mini 2 that we could see this Fall. Apple still wants to produce an iPad Mini 2 this Fall, but has not settled on whether or not to use a Retina panel in the iPad Mini 2. The reason for the dilemma concerns Apple’s sales; the company did well in Q3 2013, as its earnings report clarified today, but Apple does not want to cannibalize its iPad sales further by releasing a tablet that would match the large iPad in appearance, but come with a smaller display. This is occurring at the same time in which Apple is slimming down the large iPad in hopes of increasing large iPad sales.
One thing’s for sure: while the display debate continues, the large iPad will get the transformation of a lifetime – and we can’t wait to see the change.
Deidre Richardson is a long-time Apple fan and reports passionate about the latest Apple news and rumors.
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