Some of the major mobile device players in the market have been seeking replacements for indium tin oxide (ITO) used in today's touch panels in the hopes of resolving technological issues and related costs. Hon Hai's Foxconn subsidiary who makes most of Apple's devices including the iPhone and iPad has recently acquired new carbon nanotube (CNT) technology from the Tsinghua University and its own subsidiary in Tianjin China.
The first companies on record that are ready to use the new technology won't include Apple. The DigiTimes report states that Foxconn's clients Huawei and ZTE will use the technology later this year. Apple will be unable to use this technology right out of the gate because the yields for CNT touch panels will only be in the range of 1.5 million units per month. Volumes which are way too small to support Apple's mass iPhone or iPad volume requirements.
The initial panels will range from 1.5 to 10 inches in size. DigiTimes is reporting that Foxconn's R&D team currently hold about 107 patents on CNT technology. Whether this type of touch panel technology will be of interest to Apple in the future is unknown at this time.
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