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The latest out of Apple rumor-ville says that we can expect a thinner iPhone screen by about half a millimeter, an improvement on its own that doesn't get us too excited. The tidbit comes to us from The Wall Street Journal, a somewhat reliable publication in the rumor game, meaning we can take this one pretty seriously. That alone should have us all giddy: The new iPhone will probably, maybe look different! But, who are we kidding, our eyes can't discern such a minuscule difference. Half a millimeter is a fraction of a fraction of a fingernail, which measure around 1 cm. (We still have that larger screen rumor to hold on to, though!) Yet, a svelter screen could have other benefits beyond aesthetics and weight. Unfortunately, even those don't sound too revolutionary either.

A new screen could mean a few possibilities for the phone.

  • An overall thinner and lighter design
  • More room on the inside for stuff
  • A prettier screen

Like we said, half a millimeter wouldn't translate much in the heft department, so let's hope Apple went through the trouble of shaving off that tiny amount so it could shove other stuff where glass used to exist. Apple could stick various upgrades in there, but the general consensus from the techies suggests that the extra room would go to improving battery life.

So, that's it. Apple will improve one of the worst somethings of the phone that needs an update anyway. Though Apple promises 200 hours of standby time, regular iPhone users often can't make it through a single day without charging. (Remember when flip phones could go days without reupping?) The battery life only stands to get worse if and when Apple joins the more powerful 4G LTE networks, an upgrade the rumormongers say we should also expect. We should hope Apple adapts its phone accordingly with the more powerful network, or else battery life would worsen with the next update. 

The other possibly exciting aspect of this rumor is that WSJ says the process would save Apple, and therefore maybe consumers, some money. "For Apple, the new technology would also simplify the supply chain and help cut costs as it would no longer have to buy touch panels and LCD panels from separate suppliers," write Juro Osawa and Lorraine Luk. That doesn't mean it will translate into a price cut for consumers, of course. Apple could keep the margin or invest in other aspects of the phone. 

Underwhelming, right? This year's whole iPhone rumor mill hasn't promised much of anything exciting. Beyond the two design changes -- screen and size -- the mongers predict that phone will have iOS 6, which includes its new non-Google Maps app and a much needed Siri update (at least The New York Times's Nick Bilton isn't pleased with his bot), and 4G LTE -- things other smartphone makers already have. Basically, Apple is playing catch-up. 

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.

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