Date: Thursday, November 5th, 2015, 07:00
Category: Hardware, iPhone, Rumor
When in doubt, go with an outside supplier for help.
Apple has apparently placed LCD display driver orders with touchscreen supplier Synaptics for its next-generation iPhones, indicating the company’s in-house development of touch and display driver integration (TDDI) chips may have fallen behind schedule.
Synaptics acquired Renesas SP Drivers, reportedly the sole supplier of LCD driver ICs for iPhones, in September 2014 in an effort to maintain orders from Apple, and for now it appears the iPhone maker will remain one of its customers. The supplier also works with Google, HTC, Microsoft, Samsung, Sony and other smartphone makers.
Apple had previously recruited senior engineers from Renesas to help develop TDDI chips on an in-house basis. The TDDI chips feature Touch ID functionality integrated directly into the display and could allow for the Home button to be eliminated on next-gen iOS devices, although Apple ordering regular display drivers from Synaptics indicates the technology may not be ready for the iPhone 7.
Apple seems to be exploring the idea of displays with integrated Touch ID and trackpad capabilities and has filed multiple patents to this end over the past few years. While the iPhone 7 lineup is due for a significant redesign, it remains too early to predict whether Apple will ever remove its iconic Home button on future iPhones.
In March, Synaptics announced the first TDDI single-chip solutions for smartphones and tablets, allowing for thinner and brighter displays with best-in-class capacitive touch performance. The reduced number of components, fewer lamination steps and increased manufacturing yield of TDDI chips also lowers production costs.
Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.