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.

  • http://www.designstrategies.com Len Williams

    While this is news, it’s not really important. My more than 2 year old iPhone 4S hasn’t a single scratch on its glass and it rides around in my pants pocket every day. Gorilla Glass has been good to me so far, so if my new iPhone 6 doesn’t have a sapphire screen, I’m OK with that. Despite sapphire’s increased hardness, Gorilla Glass is still harder than keys, coins and just about anything else that might also be in my pocket. I don’t personally see the necessity of using sapphire screens, simply because I’ve never had a problem with the Gorilla Glass on either my original 2G iPhone or my current 4S.

  • TeeJay1100

    Just wait til the announcement in September from Apple. I still highly doubt a 5.5″iphone being released at the same time as a 4.7″ iphone, that is market suicide for Apple. But I won’t be surprised at a price increase, in fact I expect it from Apple. Gotta get those profits margins bigger.

    • Rafterman00

      Why? It seems that holding off on the 5.5 inch models will take money out of Apple’s pockets as many will want to wait for the 5.5 instead of buying right away.

      If Apple is capable of producing both models for initial launch, they should do so to ensure maximum sales numbers from people buying both models.

      • TeeJay1100

        That’s a big IF. Following Apple’s past history I would get my hopes up with them releasing two untested phones sizes along with discounting the last years models(5s, 5c) which is another screen size. You are asking a lot from them.

  • AAPL_@_$101_Is_A_Done_Deal_:)

    This is just random BS being thrown about by speculating stock manipulators who know nothing about how sapphire is being used on those displays. It could be some really thin laminate coating a few of thousands of an inch thick to resist scratches. The people putting out those reports obviously know nothing about what Apple is going to do. Apple has never announced anything about a sapphire display one way or another on their iPhones. The recently announced Kyocera Brigadier smartphone supposedly offers some type of sapphire display and the cost is relatively low, so I don’t think these people writing these reports know what the hell they’re talking about. Apple could have certainly found a way to bond sapphire to glass to keep the costs low. Wall Street manipulators will always assume the worst possible scenario for Apple to scare off potential investors. It’s good Carl Icahn doesn’t listen to these lying Wall Street crooks.

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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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