updated 11:45 am EDT, Thu June 5, 2008
Two Smaller iPhone Screens
Apple is prototyping not one but two different screen sizes for future versions of the iPhone, if a leak propagated by iLounge proves to be accurate. Taiwanese display maker Host Optical is providing photos and other technical information of what it claims are 2.8-inch and 3.2-inch panels, at least one of which will be used in an upcoming Apple handset. The screens would also switch from the existing capacitance touchscreen to a "projected" capacitance screen that is reportedly more likely to resist humidity and water as well as conventional wear and tear.
No timeframe is given for when Host Optical is required to start mass production of the displays, which itself is likely to begin months before an actual product launch.
The claims are unverified and would violate Apple's typical policy of secrecy for its suppliers, which are often forbidden from acknowledging that they produce components for a given device until after an Apple announcement. Readers should note that many inexpensive iPhone copies are also made in the region and may be contracted to Host Optical, though most of these are designed and sold in mainland China rather than Taiwan.
However, the apparent leaks corroborate an earlier Taiwan report which pointed to a smaller iPhone design enroute using a 2.8-inch screen that would help reduce both the footprint of the device as well as its weight. That claim suggested Apple might replace the existing iPhone with the device, though analysts and observers have suggested that Apple is more likely to introduce a secondary, lower-cost iPhone alongside a full-sized premium model.
California-based Apple also faces technical hurdles with any smaller iPhone designs, including maintaining similarly-sized interface elements, battery life, and thickness. Many expect the first 3G iPhone to be the same size or larger relative to the existing iPhone due to the need for more circuitry and potentially a larger battery.