Apple Granted Patent for 'In-Cell' Touchscreen Display Concepts

A newly-published Apple patent (via AppleInsider) reveals Apple's interest in so-called "in-cell" touchscreen technologies that have been rumored to be appearing in the next-generation iPhone. Adoption of in-cell technology, which integrates the touch sensors directly into the display rather than using a separate layer, is said to be one of the primary advances Apple is using to reduce the thickness of the iPhone to just 7.6 mm from the current 9.3 mm thickness.

The patent, which was originally filed for in June 2007 before the original iPhone even went on sale and is based on a provisional patent application dating all the way back to June 2006, highlights Apple's goals of reducing device size, complexity, and manufacturing costs just as it was attempting to revolutionize the mobile phone industry. The abstract begins:

Disclosed herein are liquid-crystal display (LCD) touch screens that integrate the touch sensing elements with the display circuitry. The integration may take a variety of forms. Touch sensing elements can be completely implemented within the LCD stackup but outside the not between the color filter plate and the array plate. Alternatively, some touch sensing elements can be between the color filter and array plates with other touch sensing elements not between the plates.

apple patent in cell touchscreen
One of a number of Apple-proposed concepts for in-cell touchscreens

Apple's extensive patent with 85 claims and 107 different figures covers a host of concepts for how touch sensors could be integrated into LCD panels, including both the overall ideas as well as manufacturing processes that could be used to build the displays.

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Top Rated Comments

2bikes Avatar
156 months ago
I bet Steve allowed this. :D
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
AR999 Avatar
156 months ago
I piece of me dies every time Apple gets a new patent, you can guarantee they will abuse it.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
darkplanets Avatar
156 months ago
I piece of me dies every time Apple gets a new patent, you can guarantee they will abuse it.

A piece of me dies every time someone makes an inane comment like this. Without patents, R&D has no purpose. Why spend money to develop something that's going to put you ahead of your competitors if they can just copy it without the R&D cost? You either license it out (FRAND) or you don't (with the former being more economical), which is your choice since you're the inventor of the IP and spent money to develop it. Like it or not IP defense and protection is the cornerstone of rewarding innovation, and Apple (or any other "patent troll") defending their IP is within their legal right. I would hardly consider it "abuse," especially if the patent was awarded in the first place and the appropriate licensing conditions were offered (which they probably were).
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
prezasti Avatar
156 months ago
All of this research just to make it thinner, and I don't care about the thickness.
I don't know, to me that picture shown in the Patent makes the screen look thicker. Just look at how big it looks compared to the finger. :p
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
MkNuII Avatar
156 months ago
Eventually the iPhone will be just a thin unbreakable glass with 5mm
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
doelcm82 Avatar
156 months ago
I wish Apple would cut it out already with making it thinner. You'd think they won't be satisfied till the iPhone is paper-thin... It's bordering on too thin at this point. Give me a bigger battery, more RAM, a more powerful GPU or CPU and I'd be happy. I don't need a thinner device.

If you want it thicker, you can do that with a protective case. It could even include a supplemental battery.

If they make it thick for you, there would be no way for me to be satisfied, because I want it thin.

So I'm glad Apple is designing products for me and not for you.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)