Various sources have been mulling for months that Apple’s fifth-generation 9.7-inch iPad will adopt the overall appearance of the iPad mini, including its skinnier side bezels and thinner, lighter enclosure. And as if you ever needed more proof, now the credulous Wall Street Journal is finally out with its own report.
Corroborating the rumor-mill chatter, the story reaffirms the notion that the iPad 5 partially owns its slimmer and lighter form factor to a new touchscreen technology borrowed from its little brother. Read on for the full reveal…
Per The Journal:
The same touch-panel technology that made the iPad mini thin and light will likely feature in the next iPad, which is currently being produced by Apple Inc.’s Asian suppliers, according to people with knowledge of the matter.
The publication is talking about the thin-film touchscreen technology called GF Ditto (also known as GF2), currently utilized on the iPad mini. As recently reported by DisplaySearch, all upcoming iPads will adopt GF2 tech.
GF2, a double-sided ITO film, has allowed for the iPad mini’s much thinner and significantly lighter enclosure versus the bulkier iPad 4 that uses a glass-based touch panel called G/G touchscreen.
“Following the iPad mini’s success, Apple plans to use the film-based touch panel in its next regular-size iPad”, people familiar with the matter told the newspaper.
Here’s a video from Youku which purportedly depicts a partially assembled iPad 5.
The Journal educates us on the benefits of GF2 vs G/G screen assembly:
For device makers, the option of using a film-based touch panel is becoming more attractive than before, as the film material has largely overcome previous technical disadvantages against glass, and it has advantages in terms of thickness and weight, said DisplaySearch analyst Shoko Oi.
Because Apple is the world’s largest vendor of tablet computers, what technologies it uses to produce iPads could have a significant impact on component suppliers. More demand for film-based touch panels is good news for manufacturers of PET films that are used to produce such panels.
For what it’s worth, it was iLounge’s Jeremy Horwitz who back in January first called for the iPad 5’s iPad mini-like design. Based on a physical model he had apparently seen, Horwitz wrote that the next full-size iPad could be “a lot smaller than one would guess was possible” with “virtually no left or right bezels”.
At any rate, the bulkiness, the added weight and the overheating non-issue plaguing the current Retina iPads are all about to become a thing of the past, should Apple engineers have their way.