According to a DigiTimes report citing industry sources, TPK Holding will begin supplying thin film-based touch sensors for Apple’s next generation ‘iPhone 8’ with AMOLED display in the fourth quarter of 2017. Currently, TPK and its Taiwanese fellow maker General Interface Solution (GIS) are the two main suppliers of iPhone’s 3D Touch modules, while touch sensors are mainly supplied by Japan-based Nissha Printing.
As AMOLED panels should be matched with Out-Cell (add-on) touch solution, 3D Touch modules for use in the new iPhone equipped with AMOLED panels involves a more complicated manufacturing process and adoption of thin film-based touch sensors, the sources noted. Since demand for thin film-based touch sensors will increase, TPK will become a second supplier next to Nissha Printing and consequently decrease the supply of 3D Touch modules used in the iPhone, the sources indicated.
TPK is now believed to supply 10-20% of demand for thin film-based touch sensors this year, whereas Nissha Printing will provide 80-90%. Meanwhile, GIS is said to receive more orders for 3D Touch modules from Apple.
Furthermore, prices for 3D Touch modules are expected rise from $9 per module for models used in existing iPhones, to over $15 for the one specifically for use in new iPhone equipped with AMOLED panels.
The sources also revealed that due to supply of thin film-based touch sensors, TPK will see its overall gross margin rise from current 11-12% to 20-22%.