The Apple iPhone will spearhead a boom in touchscreen technology. A new wave of iPhone-style devices will boost sales of multi-touch displays by nearly 400 per cent by 2012, according to research analyst iSuppli.

The iSuppli report into touchscreen technology suggests the Apple iPhone will reinforce a growing trend towards the adoption of touchscreen controlled devices, especially mobile phones.

The iPhone's display uses a multi-touch screen that recognises gestures and picks up movement. Most touschscreen devices use single-touch tap-to-select technology. However, multi-touch technology is becoming increasingly popular as manufacturers try to capitalise on the interest generated by the iPhone.

iSuppli estimates that the market for advanced touchscreens will leap from fewer than 200,000 units in 2006 to more than 21 million in 2012.

The way forward

Similar multi-touch screen technology has appeared on mobile phones such as the Prada Phone by LG and the HTC Touch . Nokia has also recently endorsed the idea that touchscreen technology is the way forward for mobile devices. iSuppli believes that as well as a boom in mobile phone usage, multi-touch displays will find their way into other gadgets such as hand-held video game systems and map browsing systems.

However, iSuppli also points out that one factor that may slow down the iPhone-inspired growth could be Apple itself. Apple owns patents for one of the multi-touch screen technologies currently on the market, and it's not clear yet whether Apple would be willing to accept royalty payments for use of its patented technology.

None the less, iSuppli forecasts that touchscreen technologies across a variety of gadgets will be worth $4.4billion (£2.2 billion) by 2012, up from $2.4 billion (£1.2 billion) in 2006. Multi-touch screens will account for $433.1 (£216.6 million) of this revenue by 2012, up from $112.9 million (£66.5 million) in 2007.