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iPhone Expected To Affect Multitouch Screen Market

The market for the displays, which respond to multiple touches simultaneously, is expected to grow nearly 31% annually through 2012.
The Apple iPhone is expected to have a great impact on multitouch screen sales, as the overall market for similar technologies grows at a healthy clip, a market research firm said.

Global shipment revenue of the eight leading touch-screen technologies is expected to rise to $4.4 billion by 2012, up from $2.4 billion last year, iSuppli said. Demand is primarily being driven by the mobile phone and consumer electronics industries, specifically portable game consoles, personal digital assistants, and portable navigation devices.

"However, as the market matures, iSuppli believes touch-screen displays will find a role in nearly every aspect of electronics life, from planes to automobiles to machine-control systems to home appliances," iSuppli analyst Jennifer Colegrove said in a statement.

The iPhone, set for release June 29, is expected to contribute to the rising multitouch screen market. Microsoft also is expected to be a driving force with its recently introduced tabletop display computer.

Multitouch displays are designed to respond to multiple touches simultaneously and can be integrated with optical imaging technologies, iSuppli said. Most touch screens are designed for a single touch.

While giving a boost to the market, Apple also could become a bottleneck. The computer maker owns one of the multitouch screen patents, and it's unclear whether Apple will be willing to license the technology, iSuppli said. But there are alternative technologies.

Besides mobile handsets with additional applications beyond voice communications, multitouch screens are most suitable for handheld video-game systems and map browsing systems, iSuppli said. The multitouch screen market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 30.8% to $433.1 million in 2012, up from $112.9 million this year.