There's a rumour floating around today that the next iPhone will use a thinner display technology made by Sharp. But what does that actually mean for you? Maybe insanely good battery life. Or, perhaps a 4G LTE iPhone that can make it through the day.
The WSJ doesn't mention the screen by name, but it seems likely that the technology being talked about is the IGZO tech that didn't make it into this year's iPad. The benefits of IGZO are, basically, smaller transistors that allow more light to pass through the display. That means you need fewer LEDs for the same amount of screen brightness. It also means that the screens can operate with vastly lower power consumption. Fewer lights, less power. Makes sense.
Now, we are drifting deeply into the realm of speculation here, but let's say that those long-but-otherwise-sameish iPhone bodies are more or less accurate. If that's the case, and if Sharp's IGZO screen is being used, then the battery can't help but benefit. Here's why: the extra space from a thinner screen would almost certainly be filled by more battery, and the lower power consumption from the IGZO would compound the gains.
Thing is, it's also likely — though obviously not certain — that this year's iPhone will have LTE for countries like the US who already have 4G networks up and running. That mains battery suckage, which is a main reason Apple has been hesitant to adopt the superspeed networks. To this point, most LTE phones have had large screens, which allowed large bodies to house large, large batteries to keep up with LTE's power consumption. But the battery also had to power those humongous screens. That's less of a problem with IGZO.
A thinner, more power efficient screen might turn out to be a battery breakthrough for Apple — as well as other phones that eventually use the technology.