Following rumors last week that Apple could switch to “in-cell” display technology for the next iPhone, an analyst report reiterated the same. KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo suggested on Monday that Apple will integrate the touch sensor and display for a next-generation iPhone, which could reduce the thickness of the handset by 0.44 millimeters. Kuo goes a step further, according to AppleInsider, saying that by switching the glass back of the current iPhone to a metal plate, it could cut down on thickness even more: Nearly a full millimeter can be shaved off with new display tech and a metal back.
Some of the latest Android phones are thinner than the iPhone 4S, which is 9.8 millimeters in thickness. The HTC One S, for example, is a slim 7.8 millimeters and the difference in hand is noticeable. However, Apple typically doesn’t design its hardware based on what competing hardware makers are doing; the iPhone’s 3.5-inch display is a perfect example as Android phones have quickly moved up to display sizes of more than 4 and even 5 inches.
It makes more sense for Apple to use the space savings not to make the next iPhone thinner, but instead to offer more room for the battery. A thicker battery in the same overall iPhone size would offset any additional power usage for an LTE radio in the next handset. Apple was able to slightly redesign its most recent iPad to create more room internally and much of that space, if not all of it, was used for a battery with 70 percent more capacity. As a result, the new iPad with LTE and the high-resolution Retina Display, which also uses more power, still offers about the same run time as prior models.
A thinner iPhone might appeal to some, but an iPhone with faster mobile broadband capabilities and no sacrifice in battery life is likely appealing to a wider audience. And it’s more in line with the way Apple matures its products; you don’t see new devices that get less run time than the prior model.