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iPhone 6 could be super-slim and light thanks to Sharp's p-Si LCD screen

Sharp has signed a deal to make polycristalline silicon (p-Si for short) screens for the iPhone 6, which is expected to be released sometime in 2012, a report in Japan suggests.

Need a break from the iPhone 5 rumours? We feel your pain, and are responding to it. So, about the iPhone 6... Yes, believe it or not, there's already speculation about Apple's next-next gen smart phone, with Sharp being fingered as the supplier of a display that will make the device thinner and lighter than ever.

Japanese newspaper Nikkan is the source of the speculation, with a piece picked up by AppleInsider. The gist: Sharp will use polycristalline silicon technology for the thin film transistor of the iPhone 6's 'p-Si LCD' display, which will bundle optical sensors, signal-processing circuits and other components into its glass substrate.

And this means? Well, it means space savings within the handset, which can thus be slimmer and lighter. AppleInsider also reckons p-Si displays have a higher aperture ratio, however, making for "more vivid images onscreen, and enhanced durability". A lip-smacking prospect in the former case, given the pin-sharp retina display on the iPhone 4.

Naturally, with the iPhone 5 still not announced, let alone on sale, there are no grainy spy shots of the sixth-generation handset doing the rounds yet -- we've pencilled in April 2012 for the first sightings, unless Apple holds a drunken Christmas party in its local Bavarian bar.

In any case, if Nikkan is correct, the smart phone display arms race shows no sign of slowing down in the next couple of years, despite the fact that high-end handsets are more or less converging on 'pretty damn sharp indeed' specs-wise.

If you want our opinion (and short of clicking that little 'x' higher up your browser, you don't have much choice), we hope manufacturers such as Apple are also doing what they can to boost battery management technologies over the next couple of years.

Better screens and slimmer devices are all very well, but come 2012 we'd rather not be charging our smart phones twice a day.