Touch-panel shipments dipping as iPhone 5 looms, report says

Shipments of touch panels will be down 15 percent to 20 percent compared with the first quarter as Apple prepares to transition to its next handset, according to the DigiTimes.

Don Reisinger
CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
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Apple is cutting its orders of iPhone touch panels, indicating that it's preparing to transition to its next handset, according to the DigiTimes.

Apple's touch-panel suppliers, TPK Holding and Wintek, will see shipments of the components decline sequentially by 15 percent to 20 percent during the second quarter, according to Taiwan-based DigiTimes, citing sources. The publication's sources say Apple's current iPhone line is "moving into the final stage," and the company is moving to a new technology, called in-cell touch, for the iPhone 5.

In-cell touch technology has been rumored to be coming to the iPhone 5 for well over a month. The offering delivers multitouch technology into the thin-film transistor LCD manufacturing process, eliminating the need for more glass and sensors. The result is a thinner, lighter screen, among other benefits.

Unfortunately for TPK and Wintek, the companies won't be making the in-cell touch panels for Apple, according to DigiTimes.

Aside from the new touch-screen technology, Apple's iPhone 5 is rumored to be launching with 4G LTE support, a 4-inch display, and a new Dock connector featuring fewer pins than the current 30-pin port.

CNET has contacted Apple for comment on the DigiTimes report. We will update this story when we have more information.