The iPhone 6 is widely expected to feature a sapphire glass display, but the protective material could only be offered with more expensive models that pack the most storage.
Apple’s sapphire supplier in Arizona, GT Advanced Technologies, might not be able to produce enough displays to meet initial demand when new iPhones come out this fall. While opinions are varied as to how many displays Apple will be able to make, it’s being reported that sapphire could very well only be available in the most expensive iPhone 6 models.
A pair of reports out of Asia today highlight Apple’s struggle to make enough sapphire for the millions of new iPhones it will sell by Christmas. With Apple rumored to be ordering an upwards of 68 million iPhone 6’s, NPD DisplaySearch believes that GT Technologies is only capable of producing 45 million displays, with a portion of those likely needed for the iWatch.
NPD’s Brian Huh recently said that sapphire will be reserved for the 64GB versions of the 5.5-inch and 4.7-inch iPhone 6, although the larger of the two may not come out until later in the year or even 2015. We’ve seen sapphire displays for a 4.7-inch iPhone leak, but nothing for the 5.5-inch form factor.
JPMorgan adds that sapphire could even be restricted to only the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 at 128GB, although there haven’t been many reports corroborating the jump in storage size. JPMorgan also has a much lower estimate for how many sapphire displays Apple will be able to make for this year at only 10 million.
NPD’s prediction that sapphire will be limited to 64GB models for both sizes makes more sense, although we’re holding out hope that there will end up being enough sapphire to go around for everyone this fall.