iPhone 5: Rumour round-up
Sixth generation ... rumours say the iPhone 5 will get a 4-inch screen. Photo: Antoine Brieux/NAK Studio
Apple's next iPhone is expected to have a bigger screen and now a new report says it will also have a thinner one thanks to updated touchscreen technology.
The tech giant is already mass-producing the screens, which will integrate touch sensors into the LCD, thereby removing the need for a second layer used to make it a touchscreen, according to the report.
The technology, called "in-cell", is about a half-millimeter thinner than what Apple uses now and is also expected to make the image quality on the iPhone screen better.
With that half-millimeter of space, Apple's next smartphone could either be thinner or it could use the space to pack the phone with more components.
Though the in-cell screens take longer to build and are more difficult to put together, their incorporation into the iPhone would make the process of building the phone easier and cheaper for Apple. The report says the screen would simplify Apple's supply chain and cut costs by removing the need for a second layer.
People familiar with the company said Japanese liquid crystal display makers Sharp and Japan Display as well as South Korea's LG are producing the panels for the display.
The report, which was put out by the Wall Street Journal, comes a day after the emergence of a new picture that purports to show the front panel of the upcoming iPhone.
The adoption of the new in-cell technology means Taiwan's Wintek Corp and TPK Holding, which supplied the touch-panel layer of the iPhone 4S screen, did not get orders for the next iPhone.
An Apple spokeswoman declined to comment on the report, which comes amid heated competition from rivals such as Samsung, whose flagship smartphone the Galaxy S III uses a 4.8-inch (12.2 centimetre) screen that is thinner than the current iPhone.
Despite challenges from Samsung and others, Apple posted a $US11.6 billion profit in the first three months this year, led by record sales of iPad tablet computers and iPhones - the latter surging 88 per cent year-on-year.
Along with a thinner display, the iPhone is expected to receive several other changes, setting it up to receive the biggest iPhone overhaul since Apple went from the iPhone 3GS to the iPhone 4 in 2010.
The new device, dubbed by fans as the iPhone 5, is widely expected to be released in the third quarter of this year, roughly 12 months after the release of the iPhone 4S.