It’s starting to get chilly in a lot of places and that means that folks will likely begin donning gloves to keep their digits warm. Unfortunately, if you’re an iOS user it can be rather difficult to utilize your mobile device in blustery conditions, as the iPhone’s touch screen doesn’t play all that nice with gloves. That problem may soon be solved though, as rumor has it Apple is reworking the screen on the iPhone 5 so it’s more glove-friendly.

Hitachi Displays has created a new projection-type touch panel akin to what the iPhone already uses which has no problem playing nicely with gloves or even a plastic-tipped stylus. Basically, the screen is able to read a touch even through insulators such as cloth, allowing the screen to react even though it isn’t receiving direct finger contact. In another practical application, the screen also works when touched with a fingernail, eliminating the annoyance of not having your iPhone register your taps simply because your nails are getting in the way.

Just because the tech exists doesn’t mean Apple is guaranteed to use it, but there’s little reason to suspect they won’t. Considering current iPhones only work with one specific type of Apple-approved glove the company would likely be very happy to expand functionality and ease the burden on consumers. Furthermore, considering Apple is often the company leading the charge on capacitive touch screens, they’re always interested in any major breakthroughs.

The only thing we don’t yet know is how thick a glove users can wear and have this new screen still function properly. While very thin gloves seem to work just fine, we still have questions about the heavy-duty snow gloves that are ideal for harsher climes. Of course, the folks who live in places where thick gloves are acceptable are often so adapted to the cold they don’t wear gloves at all, but that’s mainly because the pain receptors in their brain are frozen solid so they don’t even realize their fingers could snap off if they even try using their iPhone while outside.

[via PatentlyApple]

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