Touch Screen Tech to Make Gadgets Thinner, Including iPhone 6?

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Just when you thought touch screen smartphones and tablets couldn’t get any thinner, a new development has paved the way for slimmer gadgets — possibly even the iPhone 6.

Toshiba and Sharp are both developing a touch screen technology called low-temperature poly-silicon TFT LCD. Instead of putting sensors and signal processors on a separate system, this tech (dubbed “p-Si LCD” by the hip nerds) places the sensing system directly on the glass substrate. That’s an oversimplification, for sure, but the result is thinner, lighter touch screens that also consume less power.

So when might we see this slimming technology on store shelves? Japanese newspaper Nikkan reports that Sharp is setting up one of its factories to build the displays for Apple’s iPhone 6, presumably arriving in 2012. Toshiba, meanwhile, has revealed its own 7-inch touch screen┬áthat measures less than a millimeter thick. It’s planning to stick them in automobiles for now, but The Register speculates that they’ll make their way to tablets once the technology becomes cheap enough.

For now, you’ll have to make do with tablet and phone thicknesses of about 0.4 inches, give or take. Life’s tough.