Touchscreen supply chain shifting under Apple's influence
Apple's changes to iPhone 5 and iPad displays are shifting the supply chain for the touchscreen industry, according to NPD DisplaySearch.
Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) recently adopted two new touch sensor structures for its mobile devices--in-cell for the iPhone 5 and GF2 (double-sided ITO films) for the iPad. This shift is expected to spur a doubling of in-cell touchscreen shipments this year.
In-cell touch technology integrates touch-sensing circuitry with the LCD array, resulting in a thinner smartphone, explained AppleInsider. In addition to the iPhone 5, Sony's Xperia P and Huawei's Ascent P6 use the in-cell touch technology, the report noted.
NPD DisplaySearch predicts that in-cell touch displays will increase from 7.3 percent of mobile phone shipments in 2012 to 13.7 percent in 2013, while shipments of GG DITO (double-sided ITO glass) structure will drop from 10.3 percent to 0.6 percent. Shipments of tablet GF2 sensor structure will rise from 4.7 percent in 2012 to 28.4 percent in 2013, while shipments of GG DITO structure will decline from 37.2 percent to 8.1 percent.
"Mobile phone and tablet PC touch technologies and sensor structures are evolving quickly, due in large part to Apple's move away from GG structure to in-cell touch technology and GF2. Apple's high market share in these categories means that any technological movement is felt throughout the component supply chain," said Calvin Hsieh, research director at NPD DisplaySearch.
Touch panel penetration in notebook PCs is expected to grow to 18 percent, due to price declines for one glass solution touch modules and an increase in the penetration of low-cost strengthened sensor glass. OGS will account for 83.5 percent of notebook PC touch sensors in 2013, while SSG will reach 5.6 percent, according to NPD.
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