DigiTimes is out with a new report today claiming that it has learned that Apple is looking to adopt in-cell touch panels for future iPhones — possibly even this year’s model. As usual, the information in the report is attributed to supply chain chatter.

Why is this a big deal? Well, if it’s true, it could make future iPhones significantly thinner. Unlike on-cell panels, which Apple uses in its current handsets, in-cell panels combine touch sensors and color filters into one layer, making the touch panel much thinner…

“Apple’s new iPhone, which is expected to be released in the third quarter of 2012, is likely to adopt in-cell touch panels rolled out by Sharp and Toshiba Mobile Display (TMD), according to sources in Apple’s supply chain.

An improvement in yield rates of the in-cell touch panels at Sharp and TMD has persuaded Apple to choose to cooperate with Japan-based panel makers, the sources noted.”

It’s worth pointing out that DigiTimes has a shaky track record when it comes to Apple news. That being said, it’s not hard to believe that Apple would go with a cheaper, thinner touch panel for future handsets.

Not to mention, if it’s going to fit things like LTE and [hopefully] a bigger battery in its upcoming iPhone, it’s going to have to shave space somewhere.