According to the latest whispers to leave the iRumour mill, Apple could be looking to kit out its next iPad with a pressure-sensitive screen.
A report picked up by Korean site ETnews states that the new screen is made from a new material called silver nano wire (AgNW), instead of the current indium tin oxide (ITO) displays.
TSP Industries is said to be developing the new screens in preparation for mass production, and screen heavy-hitters including LG Display, Samsung Display and Japan Display have all verified that the new technology is indeed ready for mass production.
Sources have been cited as saying that "Apple recently requested AgNW touch-panel samples and some enterprises already delivered them to Apple. It will be first applied on the large-screen iPad, which will be released next year.”
So, what are the benefits of lacing the screen with silver nano wire? Well for starters, AgNW screens are more flexible than ITO screens, suggesting that they could be used for a flexible display. While we doubt you'll be rolling up the next iPad like a poster, the extra flexibility should make it more resistant to breaking on impact, as more shock can be absorbed.
The screen will also be more sensitive to touch, and can recognise varying pressures. If used on an iPad, it would allow people to draw more detailed pictures, allowing more realistic shading and techniques to be used.Producing an AgNW screen would also be more cost effective than an ITO screen, as it wouldn’t need a coating applied to it.
It’s also been reported that Apple is looking into ways to apply the AgNW screen with sapphire glass, which would reduce both the thickness and weight of any future iDevices, as well as making them “unbreakable.” Given that Apple still hasn't managed to economically produce iPhone screens with sapphire glass however, we're not holding our breath.
Could we see a fancy silver nano wire screen grace the fornt of the rumoured iPad Pro? We'll just have to wait and see.