An Apple patent application to the US Patent and Trademark Office shows that the iPhone 5 and iPad 2 could use smaller conductive nodes beneath the screen, allowing for the overall devices to be slimmer.
Not only that, the new method could also use less power, giving you longer battery life from each charge of your iPhone 5 or iPad 2.
The patent application suggests placing the conductive nodes on a surface opposite the touch panel, instead of on the actual screen itself. The two surfaces would be close, so the nodes could sense when you press. Having the two surfaces separate would reduce the amount of hardware needed for a touch panel, making the device slimmer.
The tech could also be implemented on the clickable trackpads on a Macbook, and the clockwheel on the iPod Classic, allowing both to slim down.
Revealed this week, the patent was originally filed to the US Patent and Trademark Office back in July 2009.
Apple Insider, via Electricpig.