AppleInsider points to a new report from the Taipei Times today claiming that Sony has been tapped to manufacturer displays for Apple’s upcoming smartphone, joining Sharp, Toshiba Mobile and LG.

The most interesting part of the report is that these display panels are going to be using in-cell technology, something we touched on a bit last month, as it could have major implications for the handset…

Unlike on-cell panels, which use separate color filter and touch sensor components, in-cell panels combine the two, making for a substantially thinner display. And if Apple really is using these thinner panels in its new iPhone, you can bet that it’s working on some kind of new design.

Of course, everyone was expecting a redesigned iPhone last year when Apple unveiled the familiar-looking 4S. But keep in mind that outside of the bevy of purported “iPhone 5” cases, we never saw any other evidence to support that fact. This year, however, there’s been plenty.

The Taipei Times report is also interesting for another reason. Samsung is still not mentioned as a display-maker, adding to the speculation that Apple is looking to distance itself from the smartphone competitor — something that investors are becoming increasingly nervous about.