iPhone 6 sapphire display might be limited to premium models

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The official iPhone 6 unveiling is less than four weeks away, but according a Wall Street Journal report, Apple is still debating whether it should limit its new Sapphire crystal displays to only the high-end models.

Production of Sapphire screens at Apple’s factory in Mesa is nearly up and running, and will produce twice as much sapphire as the current global output, but the company is still struggling to get enough material for the fall launch of the 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch iPhone 6s this fall and might only add it to the most expensive models.

“Apple is considering using sapphire screens in more-expensive models of the two new, larger iPhones it plans to debut this fall, if it can get enough of the material, people familiar with the matter say.

Previous rumors have suggested only the 64GB iPhone 6 models will get a sapphire display, but the Wall Street Journal’s report is the first time we’ve heard the rumor from a reliable source.

Because the cost of sapphire is so expensive — it costs $16 produce one sapphire screen, compared to just $3 for Corning Gorilla Glass — Apple may charge a premium to have the material on your iPhone if it can get enough supply. Other rumors have suggested Apple will wait until the iPhone 6s to introduce Sapphire glass across the entire lineup.

The iPhone 5s currently uses the incredibly durable sapphire crystal for its home button and rear camera lens, but efforts to produce sapphire for the iPhone’s display have been costly. GT Advanced Technologies has invented a new machine that creates wafer thin sapphire sheets that could be laminated to the iPhone’s display for extra durability, but creating a system that automates the process is still a few months away.

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Buster HeinBuster Hein is Cult of Mac's Senior News Editor and lives in Phoenix, Arizona. Twitter: @bst3r.

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