The next iPhone screen: bigger, but also thinner?

iPhone 4S

There’s been a lot of discussion over whether the next-generation iPhone’s display will grow in size from 3.5 inches to 4 inches. But it’s also looking more like the display will also shrink, width-wise. The Wall Street Journal┬áreported Tuesday┬áthat the next version of Apple’s smartphone will come with a redesigned screen that will be thinner than ever, backing up another rumor that has circulated these past few months.

Here’s why this new “in-cell” display technology, would be beneficial: The touch sensors are built directly into the display. For the phone, that means the overall display is thinner because there’s only one layer in the display instead of two. For Apple, this cuts out the cost and related logistics of sourcing and paying for two separate layers.

Combining two layers of the display isn’t the kind of technical improvement that’s easily marketable to consumers — it’s not as flashy or as obvious as a bigger screen or Retina display technology.

But if Apple were to use this new screen technology, it’ll effect the overall user experience with the iPhone in a way the company can easily sell. As my colleague Kevin Tofel pointed out when whispers about this new display making its way to the iPhone were first making the rounds, the motivation may not be necessarily to make a thinner smartphone, but is more likely about improving battery life.

A thinner display means more room inside the device. What do you do with that extra room? Possibly add in extra components, or slightly bigger components, like a longer-lasting battery. And you’ll want a more robust battery if Apple does decide to extend LTE service to its next round of phones.

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