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Next iPhone Capacitive Touchscreen Could be Compatible with Glove-Wearing Users



Apple’s next-generation iPhone could utilize a touchscreen display from Hitachi Displays that will work with gloves and other insulators, meaning non-conductive surfaces, in addition to fingertips. The problem with the current generation iPhone is that it requires finger contact, and won’t work with gloves–for users in colder environments, stylus or pens, and other materials, but the Hitachi Display, which comes in 3 to 10 inches in size, can be made to work beyond your fingertips. The Hitachi touchscreen panel will still utilize the finger-friendly capacitive touchscreen technology, and could also potentially bring the best of resistive and capacitive touchscreen technologies to the iPhone.

For resistive technology advantages, Hitachi’s display will offer support for plastic pens, also known as stylus, and can bring the possibility of better inking and handwriting to the iPhone. This could revive handwriting and note taking, especially on the larger screen iPad. Additionally, with the HP Slate supporting an active digitizer for handwriting and drawing input, having pen support on the iPad could make the device more competitive in the enterprise segment where either signatures are captures, drawings and illustrations could be made quickly, or a quick note could be jotted. And unlike more expensive active digitizer pens, a plastic stylus would be a lot cheaper.

While the screens could potentially hit iOS devices, I don’t see why the screens wouldn’t be implemented on other operating systems, such as HP Palm’s webOS, Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 to bring back legacy resistive touch support and inking capabilities from Windows Mobile, and on Google’s Android platform.

The nice part is that multitouch is still supported and fingertips and fingernails can now be used on the touchscreen display, along with fabric and leather gloves, yarns and plastic pens, and other insulators.

Source: Patently Apple



  1. Anonymous

    11/10/2010 at 2:32 am

    wow, yup this is extremely practical to use a functional iPhone/iPad while wearing gloves, especially for those in canada and north area/country, now there must be lots of folks are looking forward this can come true early as me, a ‘Mini’ iPad with Gloves On touch and enjoy movies on the go in the help of iFunia iPad Video Converter~~~~

  2. Tim Hutchinson

    11/10/2010 at 4:23 am

    This post is of low quality for GBM. I’m not normally one to be an outspoken critic but really? This article is really “Hitachi Displays Develops Capacitive Digitizer that Can Detect Gloved Fingers” or something along those lines. Speculation as to what companies will adopt it when is just that, *speculation*, and should be left for inside the article, not the headline.

    As for the speculation itself, it’s the worst kind. There’s no analysis, there’s no checking of who supplies Apple’s digitizers currently, not insight into how the thing actually performs with multitouch, how accurate the new materials really are. Sure the original source says it performs well, but that’s a press release from the manufacturer, not exactly unbiased.

    • Yogh

      11/10/2010 at 7:32 pm

      Presumably the focus on Apple is because this article is linked back to Patently Apple as opposed to directly to Hitachi. I’m not saying GBM couldn’t have done better, but at least I don’t think the speculation is their own.

      • Tim Hutchinson

        11/11/2010 at 2:25 am

        I saw that the PA article was the source (frankly an even worse written article), but I still expect GBM not to just requote garbage from other sites.

  3. SatGuide

    11/10/2010 at 12:36 pm

    It makes the best of resistive and capacitive touchscreen technologies to the iPhone. I its a wonderful idea to use a functional iPhone or iPad while wearing gloves. Hitachi touch screen panel will still utilize the finger-friendly capacitive touch screen technology. Any ways your post is really worthwhile. Thanks for sharing it to us.

  4. acerbic

    11/10/2010 at 10:27 pm

    If this is just about adding a resistive layer to a capacitive touchscreen, it’s not an especially novel or impressive trick and it still doesn’t provide the same relatively easy palm rejection when using the stylus as a capacitive touch / active digitizer combo does.

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