Apple (AAPL) is in the process of bringing another new technology to the world of smartphones: A thinner screen.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the handset -- possibly called the iPhone 5 -- will feature new screen technology and is already being manufactured by Asian component makers.
It is unknown how thin the new screen will be, but it is expected to be thinner than any smartphone currently on the market -- including the Galaxy S III from Samsung (SSNLF), Apple's chief rival.
DisplaySearch analyst Hiroshi Hayase told the Journal that the iPhone 5 will include new technology that "integrates touch sensors into the LCD, making it unnecessary to have a separate touch-screen layer." By removing a layer, Hayase said that the screen will not only be thinner, but it will allow Apple to improve the image quality. This could allow Apple to make an even richer Retina Display while reducing its manufacturing expenses.
Many expect the iPhone 5 to follow the same pricing structure as the iPhone 4S. But the new smartphone is widely expected to have a longer screen, along with other form factor changes. After 4G LTE came to the third-generation iPad, most analysts and tech reporters began to speculate that Apple would bring the technology to the next iPhone, even if Sprint (S) -- a key partner for the company -- is not ready to support 4G LTE nationwide.
This is the first significant iPhone 5 rumor to surface this summer. Up until now, the spotlight had shifted to the still-unconfirmed iPad Mini, the proposed seven-inch tablet that will retail for $299 and allow Apple to compete more effectively against its competitors. Amazon (AMZN), which manufactures the Kindle Fire -- the most successful seven-inch tablet available -- is expected to release a new tablet before the end of the summer. Google's (GOOG) newly released tablet, the Nexus 7, could pose an even greater threat to Apple's dominance in the tablet market.
Current speculation suggests that the iPad Mini will be released sometime before Christmas while the iPhone 5 is expected to be launched before Halloween. If true, this would be the first time that Apple released two major devices during the same quarter.
More From Minyanville