Patently Apple has stumbled upon a report by Nikkei BP, which claims that Hitachi has developed a new capacitive touchscreen that is able to detect input even while the user is wearing gloves. Using an iPhone during the Winter can be extremely troublesome, especially in colder regions. This has been one of the major downsides of using capacitive displays versus their resistive counterparts.
According to a newly published report by the Nikkei Business Publications, Japan’s Hitachi Displays has developed a projection-type touch panel capable of detecting insulators such as plastic and cloth. The new touch panel is still a projection design, but could be operated even while wearing gloves. … In short, it overcomes the disadvantages that the technology had suffered from in comparison to resistive films, making possible multi-touch operation with both insulators and fingers.
The displays will be available in sizes up to 10 inches, so they will fit every current mobile iDevice. A potential flaw could be the “2-3 points of touch input” limit, although this will most likely be increased by the time the display is adopted by Apple. (Which may be a few years from now.)
This new technology will probably send the Korean sausage industry into an irrecoverable downward spiral, but it is a decidedly less weird solution.