Apple is expected to unveil a new iPhone later this year with a slimmer screen thanks to updated touch-screen technology, a report said Tuesday.
The next generation iPhone, referred to by fans as the "iPhone 5", is being manufactured by Asian component makers, Dow Jones Newswires quoted unnamed sources as saying.
Its panels will use "in-cell technology" integrating touch sensors into the LCD, it said.
That makes a separate touch-screen layer unnecessary and reduces the screen thickness by about half a millimetre, Dow Jones quoted DisplaySearch analyst Hiroshi Hayase as saying.
The new technology will also boost displayed image quality, and help Apple cut costs as it would no longer have to buy touch panels and LCDs from separate suppliers, the report added.
It said Japanese liquid crystal display makers Sharp and Japan Display Inc as well as South Korea's LG Display Co were currently mass producing panels for the next iPhone.
Apple is widely expected to launch the device in the third quarter of this year, around 12 months after the release of its hugely popular iPhone 4S -- the firm's first new product following the death of co-founder Steve Jobs.
An Apple spokeswoman declined to comment on the report or the next iPhone's release date when contacted by AFP.
The report came 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.
Apple posted a $11.6 billion profit in the first three months this year, led by record sales of iPad tablet computers and iPhones -- the latter surging 88 percent year-on-year.
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