Don’t Touch Me Like That: New Apple Patent Selectively Disables Display’s Touch Mode

This image described by Apple, US Patent Office, touch screen displays, Dual-screen-patent

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office revealed a new Apple patent filing this week.  While the title ("Integrated Touch Sensitive Display Gate Driver") doesn't reveal much, delving a bit deeper into the filing uncovers some radical concepts.

In a nutshell, Apple has developed a circuit that can turn dynamically enable-disable touch mode on an integrated touch-sensitive display.  You may ask, "Well, doesn't that kinda, y'know, defeat the whole purpose of a touch screen?" 

Well, yes and no.  The simple fact of the matter is that display and touch modes sometimes act like oil and water.  According to the filing, toggling between the two modes will optimize the performance of both.  In touch mode, the gate lines can be switched to a more stable voltage supply, and interference from the display circuitry that negatively affects touch sensing could be reduced or eliminated entirely.  On the other hand, switching to display-only mode would save power and eliminate the need to correct or repeat erroneous or false touch sensing.

The new gate driver could also be plugged into existing technology, rather than having to redesign a screen system from scratch.