“The same touch-panel technology that made the iPad mini thin and light will likely feature in the next iPad, which is currently being produced by Apple Inc.’s Asian suppliers, according to people with knowledge of the matter,” Juro Osawa and Lorraine Luk report for The Wall Street Journal.
“The iPad mini, according to a teardown report by research firm IHS iSuppli, uses a film-based touch panel, which is thinner and lighter than the glass-based touch panel that the current full-size model uses,” Osawa and Luk report. “Following the iPad mini’s success, Apple plans to use the film-based touch panel in its next regular-size iPad, the people said.”
Osawa and Luk report, “Because Apple is the world’s largest vendor of tablet computers, what technologies it uses to produce iPads could have a significant impact on component suppliers. More demand for film-based touch panels is good news for manufacturers of PET films that are used to produce such panels. Japan’s Nitto Denko Corp, a major global supplier of the films, has earmarked Y90 billion for capital investment for its current fiscal year through March 2014, its largest-ever capital expenditure and up 80% from about Y50 billion it spent last fiscal year. Nitto Denko said it will use a chunk of that investment to double its output capacity for the films by the end of this fiscal year, expecting robust demand.”
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