Among the many changes we’re expecting to see in Apple’s new smartphone, one of them is a reduction in thickness. The new handset is said to be noticeably thinner than its predecessor.

So how is Apple going to pull this off while still adding things like LTE and a larger display? By doing things like reducing the size of the charging port, and using in-cell touchscreen tech…

We’ve talked about in-cell technology before — it’s one of the more consistent next-gen iPhone rumors. By combining the color filter and touchscreen components into a single layer, in-cell display panels are remarkably thin. And they also tend to produce higher quality images.

Fast forward to today, Apple was granted a patent regarding touchscreen display technology. And the tech described in the filing sounds a lot like in-cell. AppleInsider has an excerpt:

“By integrating the layered structure of an LCD and touch sensor, a variety of benefits can be achieved. This integration can include combining or interleaving the layered structures described above. Integration can further include eliminating redundant structures and/or finding dual purposes (e.g., one purpose for the touch function and another for the display function) for particular layers or structures. This can permit some layers to be eliminated, which can reduce cost and thickness of the touch screen LCD, as well as simplify manufacturing.”

Wow, so these panels would be a big deal for Apple if it could figure out how to manufacture them on a large scale. But the last we heard, panel-makers were having trouble mass-producing them.

Regardless, the mere fact that Apple is looking to use in-cell displays in future products is great news. It’s always nice to see technology pushed forward in all areas — especially displays.