For months, Apple was rumored to be working on its in-house touch and display driver integration (TDDI) single-chip solutions. The technology was expected to appear in the next year’s iPhone 7. However, Digitimes has learned from supply chain sources that the development of Apple’s in-house TDDI solutions was running behind schedule. TDDI would allow a phone to ditch the home button and incorporate all the home button functionality in the display.
Digitimes reports that Apple has placed LCD driver chip orders with Synaptics for its “2016 series of iPhones.” San Jose-based Synaptics supplies similar components to smartphone giants like Samsung, HTC, Microsoft, Sony, and others. Amid speculations that Apple could reduce its dependence on Synaptics, the supplier had acquired Renesas SP Drivers (RSP) last year to maintain orders from Apple. RSP was the sole supplier of LCD driver chips for iPhones.
Meanwhile, the Cupertino-based tech giant roped in several Renesas engineers for its in-house TDDI solution. Apple placing orders for regular display drivers suggests that the home button is going to stay, at least for another year. In the past few years, Apple has filed multiple patents for displays with TDDI capabilities. TDDI reduces the number of components and lamination steps, which could lower production costs.
iPhone 7 may have a ‘panic mode’
Since the iPhone 7 won’t be an ‘S’ upgrade, it is going to see some radical redesign. It is rumored to be as thin as the iPod Touch. Meanwhile, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said in a report earlier this week that Apple was working on a 4-inch iPhone that could be unveiled in the first half of next year. Kuo expects this “budget” device to be powered by the A9 processor. He estimated that Apple could sell 20 million to 30 million units of the new 4-inch iPhone through the end of the next year.
A separate report suggests that the iPhone 7 could feature a “panic mode” that would allow the device to shut down, send its location to authorities, and go into emergency setting if the respective owner is in danger. Apple has been granted patents for this technology. The device would enter the panic mode when the owner places a specific finger on the fingerprint sensor.