Sapphire glass might only come to the 64GB iPhone 6

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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.

  • mythofechelon

    I hope none of these model-specific rumours are true or the iPhone is going to get ridiculously fragmented:
    • 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch models
    • 5.5-inch model will come with Optical Image Stabilisation
    • 5.5-inch model will cost $100 more
    • 5.5-inch 128 GB model will come with sapphire glass

    • Guest

      Do you know anything about fragmentation or did you just pull that out of your butt?

      Fragmentation has to do with software development with apps. Having developers make apps for three different sized phones isn’t really fragmentation because Apple’s software will be able to handle it correctly.

      • mythofechelon

        Fragmentation is “the process or state of [one whole entity] breaking or being broken into fragments” and, in this case, not exclusively software-based.

        Apple’s strength is intuition in all aspects and adding so many model-specific features / tradeoffs just complicates everything so you get this:
        1. “I would like to buy an iPhone that has OIS / sapphire glass!” “Sure, buy ANY iPhone 6″
        2. “I would like to buy an iPhone that has OIS / sapphire glass!” “Okay, you’ll need to buy the 128 GB, 5.5-inch iPhone 6 but it’s $100 more than the 4.7-inch version”

      • TeeJay1100

        For the life of me I would’t be surprised if they add a $100 more premium on the phone. This sounds so Apple. This company is becoming to be so pathetic. The average consumer has no chance but I forgot Apple only cares about the upper class

      • Ashton3002

        Last time I checked samsung note is $100 more as well as the htc one max so does that make samsung and htc pathetic?

      • TeeJay1100

        You do realize that the Max is 5.9″ & Note 3 is 5.7″ right?? How can you compare? Why even bring these two up if they aren’t even the same screen size as this mythical 5.5″ iphone that might not even exist?

      • Ashton3002

        Last time I checked they are all considered phablets. Unless you consider anything over under inches to not be a phablet?

      • TeeJay1100

        Your comparison is mute because of different screen sizes. Should we compare a 4″ to a 4.7″? You can’t. Different playing field for both.

  • englishmike

    Gets so dull reading what people DONT KNOW!

    • Grunt_at_the_Point

      Yeah, there are a lot of experts on here.

  • AAPL_@_$101_Is_A_Done_Deal_:)

    What else would Apple be able to do if the sapphire supply is restrained? Cut production of the number iPhones? That would be a disaster. I suppose Apple will have to reserve the sapphire displays for the high-end models which likely would be sold in lesser quantities. I think that would make the most sense because Apple could also make up for the cost of the sapphire in the high-end model. But that would also include the 4.7″ model. It may be unlikely the 5.5″ model is introduced this year. I don’t like the fragmentation but Apple may have no choice at this point.

    • englishmike

      S

    • leftoverbacon

      If sapphire glass is constrained and thusly limited to higher capacity phones, it’s be a boon for Apple. Just think how many people will pay the $100 or $200 premium for the higher capacity phones just to get a sapphire protected display. RAM is cheap. Apple makes bank on the larger capacity phones.

      • Cold_dead_fingers

        No, here’s how that situation plays out:

        iPhone rep: iPhones are the only smartphones to features sapphire glass. It’s highly durable and light enough and thin enough to be used in iPhone.

        iPhone customer: wow, that sounds impressive. I’ll take a 16GB iPhone 6 with sapphire glass.

        iPhone rep: sorry, we only offer sapphire glass on our 64GB 5.5″ iPhone 6.

        iPhone customer: how much is that one?

        iPhone rep: well, it’s $499 on a two-year contract.

        iPhone customer: and how much was the iPhone that I wanted?

        iPhone rep: the 16GB model iPhone 6 is $199 on contract.

        iPhone customer: okay, I’ll take the 16GB one and a $10 screen protector.

  • Matt

    Isn’t this Sapphire factory based in the US? And Apples iPhone’s are built in China.

    I read that one of the greatest things Tim Cook has done for Apple is make their supply chain insanely efficient.

    If the sapphire glass was being produced for iPhones, wouldn’t it have made more sense that they built them in China?

    And then maybe it is solely for the “iWatch”, which might be another product (like the new Mac Pro) to be built in the USA?

    It is most likely heading for a watch more so than anything else just based on the historic use of sapphire.

  • PTVMan

    Utter nonsense and speculation.

  • Michael

    This is speculation, pure and simple. I don’t trust JPM to know anything privileged about Apple.

    Besides, this level of fragmentation would be very uncharacteristic of Apple. Adds way to many variables to iPhone’s otherwise simple line up.

  • JT_daniel

    Apple have never fragmented its devices like that. Hugely disappointing if true, as there’s no way on earth I’m going to shell out a 1000€ for a 128 GB model. A proper deal breaker for me if the 16/32 GB models are significantly worse than the 128GB model.

  • Mike Prouty

    It’s not going to happen. Would you imagine Apple making a commercial about how the sapphire glass screen is only available on the 64GB version iPhone? Plus I think this is the year where Apple finally moves their storage capacities to 32GB, 64GB, and 128GB models, so in other words, the 64GB won’t even be the “superior” model of the iPhone versions in my opinion.

    As the days go by and I see one article contradicting another, it gets to the point where people have to use common sense. Obviously Apple won’t put sapphire screen on one version of their iPhone with the highest capacity while leaving the others with the old screen.

  • evuan

    With the new iPhone 6 coming out I better sell my old iPhone before the value of it drops. I usually search 1-13 different sites to find the best offer, but I just found this company that compares all the buyback companies in one spot, it’s called RecomHub.

    It’s like Kayak but for electronic devices that show you all the offers in one spot.

    • ophmarketing

      Thanks, paid shill!

About the author

Alex HeathAlex Heath is a senior writer at Cult of Mac and co-host of the CultCast. He has been quoted by the likes of the BBC, KRON 4 News, and books like "ICONIC: A Photographic Tribute to Apple Innovation." If you want to pitch a story, share a tip, or just get in touch, additional contact information is available on his personal site. Twitter always works too.

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