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 2020
Buyer's Guide: iPhone SE (Neutral)

Top Rated Comments

0098386 Avatar
74 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
74 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
74 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
74 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
74 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
74 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)

Top Stories

0 Deals Hero

Black Friday 2020: Best Apple Deals to Plan For

Saturday November 21, 2020 10:00 am PST by
In the lead-up to Black Friday next week, we've been putting a spotlight on the best deals coming from various retailers like Best Buy and Walmart. In an effort to further prepare our readers for the best Black Friday deals, we're breaking down what we think should be on your radar for Black Friday in 2020. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a...
m1 mac mini vignette

Apple Lists M1-Based Mac Mini Logic Boards With 10 Gigabit Ethernet in Internal Parts Ordering System

Friday November 20, 2020 9:32 am PST by
While the new Mac mini with the M1 chip is only available with Gigabit Ethernet, Apple has listed multiple M1-based Mac mini logic boards with 10 Gigabit Ethernet in an internal parts list for Apple Authorized Service Providers. For every Mac mini logic board with Gigabit Ethernet in the parts list, obtained by MacRumors, there is a corresponding logic board with 10 Gigabit Ethernet:...
new m1 chip

Craig Federighi: Native Windows on M1 Macs is 'Really up to Microsoft'

Friday November 20, 2020 11:57 am PST by
Following the release of the M1 Macs Apple executives have been doing interviews with a range of publications, and today, Ars Technica published another interview with software engineering chief Craig Federighi, hardware technologies lead Johny Srouji, and marketing VP Greg Joswiak. Much of the interview focuses on topics that the three have already covered in prior discussions, but there is ...
14

Apple Releases iOS 14.2.1 With Fix for Text Message Bug and iPhone 12 Mini Lock Screen Issues

Thursday November 19, 2020 10:16 am PST by
Apple today released iOS 14.2.1, a bug fix update that comes two weeks after the launch of iOS 14.2 and is available for Apple's new iPhone 12 models. The iOS 14.2.1 update can be downloaded for free and it is available on all eligible devices over-the-air in the Settings app. To access the new software, go to Settings > General > Software Update. According to Apple's release notes, iOS...
Walmart November Deals Hero

Black Friday Spotlight: Walmart Will Have AirPods Pro Down to Lowest Price of $169, and More Apple Deals

Thursday November 19, 2020 8:05 am PST by
We've been tracking early Black Friday deals in our dedicated Black Friday Roundup, and in an effort to prepare our readers for the big shopping event we're highlighting sales store-by-store in the lead-up to November 27. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with Walmart. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running. Next ...
apple leather sleeve

Leather Sleeve for iPhone 12 Models Now Available From Apple

Friday November 20, 2020 12:16 pm PST by
Apple today began selling the Leather Sleeve for the new iPhone 12 models, with the accessory having first been announced alongside the updated iPhones in October. Priced at $129, the Leather Sleeve is not a case and is designed to be removed when the iPhone is in use. It features a cutout at the front that displays the time, and it comes with a matching leather strap. According to Apple, it ...
iOS14AntitrackFacebookSadfeature

Apple Confirms Commitment to App Tracking Transparency in Letter Condemning Facebook's Data Collection [Updated]

Thursday November 19, 2020 11:58 am PST by
Apple in iOS 14 is planning to introduce a new App Tracking Transparency feature that will let users know when companies want to track them across apps and website. Following outcry from developers like Facebook and ad networks unprepared for the change, Apple delayed the implementation of the anti-tracking functionality until early 2021. Eight civil society organizations recently sent a...
maxresdefault

CrossOver Allows x86 Windows Apps to Run on Apple M1 Macs

Wednesday November 18, 2020 6:07 pm PST by
Codeweavers posted a blog post and video tonight showing off CrossOver running on an Apple M1 MacBook Air. This video shows Team Fortress 2 running on a new M1 MacBook Air: CrossOver is software (based on Wine Project) that runs Microsoft Windows apps on the Mac by translating Windows APIs into their Mac equivalents. The Codeweavers team was able to run the current version of CrossOver on...
macbookpro13large

Apple Offers Instructions on What to Do if macOS Big Sur Causes Installation Errors on 2013 and 2014 MacBook Pro

Thursday November 19, 2020 6:12 pm PST by
Following the release of macOS Big Sur last week, a number of 2013 and 2014 MacBook Pro owners found that the update bricked their machines. Affected users saw their Macs get stuck displaying a black screen after attempting to install the new software. Apple has now addressed this issue in a new support document that provides instructions on what to do if macOS Big Sur can't be installed on...
128gb m1 macbook air education cropped

$799 M1 MacBook Air With 128GB Storage for Education Institutions Spotted Online

Friday November 20, 2020 5:15 am PST by
A new configuration of the M1 MacBook Air with 128GB of storage and a lower $799 price has today been spotted on Apple's U.S. Education Institution Hardware and Software Price List. The M1 MacBook Air is only available with 256GB, 512GB, 1TB, or 2TB of storage. There is currently no 128GB configuration on the Apple Store. However, Reddit user "u/dduci97" noticed that Apple has listed...