Amid growing speculation over Apple’s next-generation iPhone models, an analyst has predicted that the company’s upcoming flagship smartphone will feature a new touch technology, which could be significant enough for Apple to call the new handset “iPhone 7.”
The next iPhone will feature a new capacitive Force Touch sensor installed under the backlight, which will be able to determine the pressure being applied on the screen by monitoring the contact area where a finger presses, MacRumors reported Thursday, citing KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. The report comes at a time when Samsung is rumored to manufacture the main chip in the next iPhone model.
“There are two possible structural designs for Force Touch from a technology viewpoint. The Force Touch sensor can either be placed between the cover lens and the In-cell touch panel or under the In-cell touch panel’s backlight,” Kuo wrote in a note to investors on Thursday, adding that introduction of the new Force Touch technology could lead Apple to call its next iPhone the “iPhone 7,” instead of the rumored “iPhone 6S.”
“Our understanding of the technology is that producing a transparent Force Touch sensor is more difficult, so the chances are the new iPhone this year will opt for the second position,” Kuo said.
Taiwan’s DigiTimes reported last week that Apple could launch three new iPhone models in the second half of 2015. The publication said that the company’s first and second new models would probably be called the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus, respectively, while the third new model -- with a 4-inch display -- would be called the iPhone 6C.
However, Kuo said that Apple is still likely to focus on its 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch displays for the upcoming iPhones, and therefore a 4-inch iPhone model is unlikely to be released this year.
Meanwhile, Bloomberg came up with a report on Friday, saying that Samsung will be the manufacturer of the new A9 chip, which will power Apple’s next-generation iPhone model. The report also claimed, citing people familiar with the matter, that Samsung will start making the Apple A9 processor at its Giheung plant in South Korea.
If the rumor about the Samsung-made A9 processor turns out to be true, it will help the South Korean technology giant rebound against the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), which produced A8 processors for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus devices last year.
In January, Reuters had also reported, citing South Korea’s Maeil Business Newspaper, that Samsung could be the main supplier of Apple’s A9 chip for the new iPhone. The report said at the time that Samsung could be responsible for about 75 percent of the A9 chip’s production for the 2015 model of the iPhone.