HONG KONG—Apple Inc.'s (AAPL) next iPhone, currently being manufactured by Asian component makers, will use a new technology that makes the smartphone's screen thinner, people familiar with the matter said, as the U.S. technology giant strives to improve technological features amid intensifying competition from Samsung Electronics Co. (005930.SE) and other rivals.
Japanese liquid-crystal-display makers Sharp Corp. and Japan Display Inc.—a new company that combined three Japanese electronics makers' display units—as well as South Korea's LG Display Co. (LPL) are currently mass producing panels for the next iPhone using so-called in-cell technology, the people said.
Technological progress at LCD makers such as Sharp, Japan Display and LG Display is crucial for Apple, given that Samsung has been pushing its organic light-emitting displays as one of the unique features of its Galaxy phones. Samsung's flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S III, comes with a 4.8-inch OLED screen and is thinner than the current iPhone.
The current iPhone 4S is 9.3 millimeters thick, according to Apple's official web site.
For Apple, the new technology would also simplify the supply chain and help cut costs as it would no longer have to buy touch panels and LCD panels from separate suppliers.