iPhone 5 Getting In-Cell Touchscreen, Coming In October [RUMOR]

IT Management

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We've got a couple of new iPhone rumors for you this morning. First off, the much-debated release date. While some have been expecting Apple to return to a summer release schedule for the next iPhone, others claim that the iPhone 4S's October launch set up a new autumn release schedule.

Gene Munster, analyst with Piper Jaffray and usually pretty accurate on Apple-related matters, has weighed in on the issue. In a note to investors yesterday, Munster said that "the iPhone 5 launch is likely to follow the new typical pattern established with the iPhone 4S of an October launch." He also said that recent statements by Qualcomm concerning their supply issues support an October rollout, rather than a June or July launch.

Munster also predicted some new features for Apple's next iPhone. He affirmed rumors that the iPhone will be 4G LTE-capable (with a 4G iPad just released, how could it not?), and said that it will feature "a revolutionary newly designed body." That the next iPhone is due for a redesign is widely agreed, but nobody is quite sure what that redesign is going to look like. One wonders if what Munster means by "revolutionary" could have anything to do with recent rumors that the next iPhone's casing will be made of liquidmetal.

And speaking of the new iPhone's design, DigiTimes has published a report this morning making some interesting claims about the touchscreen technology Apple will use. Citing "sources in Apple's supply chain," the report claims that Apple will be going with in-cell touch panels with the new iPhone. These new panels, made by Sharp and Toshiba Mobile Display, will allow for a thinner, lighter phone. Whereas existing iPhone touchscreens are in two parts - a touch-sensitive glass panel with an LCD display underneath it - in-cell touchscreen technology effectively blends those two layers into one display. That means Apple will either be able to make the phones thinner, or leave them the same thickness but pack extra components - like 4G LTE radios and a bigger/better battery - inside the case.

Of course, DigiTimes's record is... spotty, to say the least, so this may all be just a rumor. On the other hand, Apple has consistently gone thinner and lighter with its devices where possible, and this kind of technology would let them do that with the next iPhone. Of course, if Munster's prediction of an October release date is correct (and it almost certainly is), then we've still got several months left to wait before we know anything for sure.

[Concept Image Credit: Ciccarese Design]