The next iPhone will fix touch screen lag with Touch-On-Display tech

iPhone 5 (black, left angled, display 001)

The iPhone 5 introduced a bunch of both small and big advances in terms of display tech, most of them centered around the in-cell display process which laminates the cover glass to the display itself. As a result, in-cell tech reduces the iPhone 5’s thickness while increasing the image clarity by removing a third layer, which reduces light refraction noticeably. On the downside, this technology reduces the response speed of the touch panel.

This becomes especially evident when moving your finger across its screen in a rapid succession. Given the slow response speed of the iPhone 5’s touch panels caused by the in-cell technology, Apple reportedly is going to adopt the new Touch-On-Display technology from Chimei Innolux, a Foxconn subsidiary, to solve the problem…

The China Times reports that the Cupertino firm is already working with Chimei Innolux on the new Touch-On-Display panels that will be used on the next-generation iPhone, probably the forthcoming iPhone 5S which is expected around July.

Samples have been sent to Apple for testing in the hope of entering the iPhone maker’s supply chain. The report goes on to note that Innolux has converted its 4.5G line in Zhunan, Taiwan into a touch panel production line and plans on launching two new such plans.

The new display tech won’t make the display assembly any thicker, a source pointed out.

A report last week claimed Apple intends to refresh iOS devices this year with IGZO panels, reportedly turning to Innolux which has reportedly been licensed to use Sharp’s IGZO display tech on its 3G and 5G lines.

Here’s a quick backgrounder on how the in-cell tech the iPhone 5 uses differs from the ordinary touch screen technology that prior iPhones incorporated.

Current LCD vs in-cell

Game developer CMA Megacorp first observed the slower response time of the iPhone 5’s touch screen. Most users won’t even notice the problem so it’s not something to write home about. On the flip side, games like Fruit Ninja that rely on rapid finger movement could suffer from the iPhone 5’s in-cell display tech.

You can see in CMA’s video above that sliding one’s finger back and forth across the display rapidly causes input events to drop out or stop altogether, which is only exacerbated if scrolling diagonally.

I think it’s important that Apple deals with slower response times on iPhone 5 touch panels. The iPhone has always been famous for its fluid animations, responsive user interface and the best multi-touch implementation on any mobile device.


A big contributing factor to the overall sense of smoothness is the response time of the device’s touch panel. Now, the vast majority of smartphones don’t even hold a candle to the iPhone in that regard. But some, like Nokia’s Lumia series, arguably do.

The latest Lumias incorporate some of the best touch screen displays on the market that, coupled with Windows Phones’ crazy smooth UI performance, beat Apple in touchs screen and multi touch responsiveness.

It’s not a biggie, but the sooner Apple fixes touch screen performance, the better.

Does the iPhone 5’s touch screen performance concern you?