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In this April 28, 2011 photo, a customer holds an iPhone at the Apple store on New York's Upper West Side.

The new iPhone rumored to be hitting this fall will employ a new screen technology that embeds the touch function into the screen itself, as opposed to the current method, which involves putting a “touch layer” over an LCD screen, the Wall Street Journal reports. The result: a screen that’s thinner (perhaps shaving half-a-millimeter off the current 9.3mm-thick iPhone), and better-looking at the same time. Sharp, LG Display, and newcomer Japan Display are all mass-producing these “in-cell” screens for the iPhone.

The screen could be important, because sources are murmuring that the new iPhone will boast a larger screen area; the thinner screen could offset the weight increase inherent in such an up-sizing. It’ll also help Apple compete with Samsung’s OLED screens, which don’t require backlighting. But it’s bad news for conventional screenmakers. The two companies that built the touch layer for the iPhone 4S have gotten no new orders from Apple, say sources.