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Thursday, August 16, 2012, 06:35 am PT (09:35 am ET)

Apple's 7.85-inch iPad mini and future iPads may adopt ITO film coating

A so-called 'iPad mini' reportedly in the works at Apple for a late 2012 release may be the first of the company's tablet devices to include displays coated with indium tin oxide (ITO), an electrically conductive transparent substance that acts as an EMI shield and helps reduce radio interference.

A Taiwan company by the name of Efun Technology has reportedly seen profits double in recent years due to its production of flexible substrates coated with iTO films. The super-thin and lightweight coatings help reduce radio frequency interference in mobile devices while also acting as electromagnetic shields.

Much of the company's recent success has reportedly come from applications of its ITO technology on Samsung's mobile handsets, but the more recent buzz around the firm's forward-looking prospects reportedly hinges on rumors that Apple has become its latest customer ahead of launching its much-rumored iPad mini tablet.

The 7.85-inch device will reportedly be the first from the Cupertino-based company to employ Efun's ITO technology, as reports out of the Far East suggest that the fourth-generation 9.7-inch iPad will also receive the same treatment closer to its launch next year.

In addition to benefiting from ITO applications, Efun has also reportedly seen increased profits due to shipments of micro-lens films used in LCD TVs for Japan- and Korea-based customers. It's said to be the only producer among Taiwan-based makers of optical films.

Meanwhile, backlight unit suppliers for existing iPad designs are said to be bracing for a near-term hit to revenues as Apple adjusts orders for its industry-leading tablets in preparation for the launch of the iPad mini.