After its iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini3 tablets were each greeted with a lukewarm reception, Apple is turning to a huge "phablet" dubbed the iPad Pro, to help it rebound. Some key details about the forthcoming slate have surfaced.
According to ET News, Apple is reportedly in conversation with display unit suppliers like LG, JDI, Samsung and others about mass-producing “AgNW-coated touch panels” for the display of iPad Pro. Phone Arena says “AgNW” stands for “silver nanowire,” the material used in producing “transparent conductive layers from single crystals of silver nano wires.” With this new material on board, Apple plans to improve the new device's "feel," while decreasing the cost.
The AgNW material will succeed the widely used industry standard called indium tin oxide (ITO) coating. This material reportedly accommodates multiple pressure sensitivity levels and therefore should complement Apple's new Force Touch technology, which is already part of Apple Watch and MacBook 2015. However, once the material becomes mainstream, the technology can be used in future iPhones and iPads, Phone Arena notes.
The AgNW material also should provide better profit margins because of its lower production cost. The ITO coating is reportedly more expensive because it is a rare metal that is heading for extinction. Alarmingly, only about 12 years' worth of natural indium reportedly remain. This is largely why phone makers are seeking an alternative for their displays. If the OLED technology used by many original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) like Samsung cannot take over the ITO technology, the alternative could very well be AgNW, Phone Arena reports.
Meanwhile, Apple may use sapphire glass for the iPad Pro display. Thin sapphire glass would be applied on an AgNW touch panel, decreasing the thickness and weight of the device. “Apple is always looking for an innovation by consistently changing materials," a source told ET News. "If AgNW TSP were to be commercialized next year, domestic smartphone industries will also have to hurry their application of new materials.”
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