iPhone's Force Touch Tech May Track Contact Area Instead of Pressure, New 4" Model Unlikely in 2015

iphone6-stock-photoKGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who has a respectable track record at reporting on Apple's upcoming plans, issued a note to investors on Thursday that claims the next-generation iPhone will have a FPC-made capacitive Force Touch sensor under the backlight, laminated with metal shielding. Kuo adds that the change may be significant enough for Apple to call its next iPhone the "iPhone 7" instead of the so-called "iPhone 6s."

The analyst claims that the hardware design of Force Touch will be different than the technology used in the Apple Watch and 12-inch Retina MacBook. Instead of directly detecting the pressure applied by fingers, the new improved Force Touch hardware will monitor the contact area where a finger presses to determine how much pressure is being applied. The sensor will use capacitive technology and thin FPC material to save space.

"We believe that iPhone’s Force Touch sensor doesn’t directly detect the pressure applied by fingers. Instead, it monitors the contact area on which the finger touches the screen to decide how big the pressure is.

There are two possible structural designs for Force Touch from a technology viewpoint. The Force Touch sensor can either be placed between the cover lens and the In-cell touch panel or under the In-cell touch panel’s backlight. In the first position, the technological challenge lies with how to produce the transparent Force Touch sensor; in the second position, the challenge is how to reduce signal interference from in-cell touch panel. Our understanding of the technology is that producing a transparent Force Touch sensor is more difficult, so the chances are the new iPhone this year will opt for the second position."

Kuo adds that Apple is likely to change the hardware design of Force Touch again in 2016 by removing the metal shielding to achieve a thinner form factor. He notes that the changes should improve the iPhone user experience, but will likely create uncertainty for Force Touch module suppliers TPK and GIS, as well as metal shielding suppliers Minebea, Hi-P and Jabil.

Force Touch iPhone KGI copy
Kuo claims that Apple is still targeting 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch models for its next-generation iPhones, akin to the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, and notes that a 4-inch model is unlikely to be released this year. KGI Securities estimates iPhone shipments will total 25 to 30 million units in the third quarter, helping drive momentum for Force Touch components within the supply chain.

Related Roundup: iPhone SE
Buyer's Guide: iPhone SE (Buy Now)
Related Forum: iPhone

Top Rated Comments

0098386 Avatar
93 months ago
Is that possible without calibration? A small finger pushing hard would register the same area as a larger finger pressing soft. I can't imagine it working like that.
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)
QCassidy352 Avatar
93 months ago
4 inches is just too small for a smartphone. There is a reason why 4.7 and up is the standard now. Because it is more practical.

Disagree. 4.7 gives me a bit more usable screen in exchange for losing 1 handed use. Not a good trade off (for me).
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
oldmacs Avatar
93 months ago
NOOO!!! I want a 4 inch phone :'(

My iPhone 5 better last a long time, because its looking more and more like my last.

----------

4 inches is just too small for a smartphone. There is a reason why 4.7 and up is the standard now. Because it is more practical.

Its a matter of how you use your phone. 80 percent of my phone usage would be 1 handed, which i can't do with the 6 making it useless and impractical for me. 4 inches is the perfect size.

They really should offer a 4,4.7 and 5.5 lnch range and that would satisfy everyone.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Ballis Avatar
93 months ago
No new 4" = no purchase. I never thought id sit a generation out. Much less two. But the iPhone 5S is still by far the most appealing iPhone to me.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jclardy Avatar
93 months ago
Is that possible without calibration? A small finger pushing hard would register the same area as a larger finger pressing soft. I can't imagine it working like that.

Exactly...I don't really believe this rumor because then even the original iPhone could have "Force Touch" - the capacitive screen already detects the entire contact area and the OS decides the center point to tell the app.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
nia820 Avatar
93 months ago
4 inches is just too small for a smartphone. There is a reason why 4.7 and up is the standard now. Because it is more practical. I don't think Apple is going back to 4 inches. With the iPhone 6 and 6+ success, there is no going back to smaller phones.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

RIP iPod Feature

RIP iPod: A Look Back at Apple's Iconic Music Player Over the Years

Friday May 13, 2022 2:25 pm PDT by
Apple earlier this week announced the discontinuation of the iPod touch, and because it was the last iPod still available for purchase, its sunsetting effectively marks the end of the entire iPod lineup. To send the iPod on its way, we thought it would be fun to take a look back at some of the most notable iPod releases over the last 21 years. Original iPod (2001) Introduced in October...
iOS 16 mock for article

Gurman: iOS 16 to Include New Ways of System Interaction and 'Fresh Apple Apps'

Sunday May 15, 2022 6:14 am PDT by
iOS 16 will include new ways of interacting with the system and some "fresh Apple apps," Bloomberg's Mark Gurman has said, offering some more detail on what Apple has in store for the upcoming release of iOS and iPadOS set to be announced in a few weeks at WWDC. In the latest edition of his Power On newsletter, Gurman wrote that while iOS 16 is not likely to introduce a major face-lift to...
maxresdefault

Unbox Therapy Shares Hands-On Look at iPhone 14 Pro Max Replica

Monday May 16, 2022 4:40 am PDT by
YouTuber Unbox Therapy has shared a hands-on look at the iPhone 14 Pro Max using what he claims is a one-to-one replica created by third-party case makers with access to detailed schematics and dimensions for Apple's new upcoming flagship smartphone. As with the iPhone 13 Pro lineup, in 2022, we are expecting a 6.1-inch iPhone 14 Pro and a 6.7-inch iPhone 14 Pro Max, but this time the Pro...
iOS 15

Apple Releases iOS 15.5 and iPadOS 15.5 With Wallet and Podcast Updates

Monday May 16, 2022 10:00 am PDT by
Apple today released iOS 15.5 and iPadOS 15.5, the fifth major updates to the iOS and iPadOS 15 operating systems that were initially released in September 2021. iOS and iPadOS 15.5 come a little over two months after the launch of iOS 15.4 and iPadOS 15.4. The iOS 15.5 and iPadOS 15.5 updates can be downloaded for free and the software is available on all eligible devices over-the-air in...
14 16 inch 2021 mbps back to back feature orange

Five Things You Still Can't Do With a MacBook Pro

Wednesday May 11, 2022 11:16 am PDT by
It's been over 200 days since Apple debuted its redesigned MacBook Pro lineup. Offered in 14-inch and 16-inch display sizes, the new-look MacBooks wowed Apple fans and creative pros alike with their powerful custom Apple silicon, mini-LED screen, and multiple connectivity options. But there are still some things you can't do with a MacBook Pro. Here are five features some Mac users are still...
apple mac ipad watch trade in

Apple Launches Limited-Time Bonus Trade-In Credit for iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple Watch in Many Countries

Wednesday May 11, 2022 5:14 am PDT by
Apple has launched a special limited-time offer for iPhone, Apple Watch, Mac, and iPad trade-in that offers customers additional credit when trading in their only device for a new one. The offer is being run in several countries including the US, UK, Germany, Spain, Italy, South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, China, India, and France. In the UK, Apple is offering up to £50 of extra trade-in credit...
airpodsprodesign

Kuo: AirPods, MagSafe Battery Pack, and Other Apple Accessories Also to Switch to USB-C in Future

Sunday May 15, 2022 5:59 am PDT by
Earlier this week, well-known Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claimed that Apple plans to release at least one iPhone 15 model with a USB-C port in 2023. Now, in a follow-up tweet, he has claimed that accessories like AirPods, the MagSafe Battery Pack, and the Magic Keyboard/Mouse/Trackpad trio would also switch to USB-C in the "foreseeable future." Both the iPhone and all of the aforementioned...