Apple will use sapphire home buttons on the new iPad and iPad mini, expected to launch next month, according to a report from DigiTimes.
Apple first adopted sapphire to make covers of iPhone 5 cameras and now the material is also used in making covers of iPhone 5S finger print-recognizing home keys, the sources noted. Apple in March 2013 filed with the US Patent and Trademark Office an application concerning high-temperature lamination of sapphire layers, the sources noted.
The report goes on to note that Apple may be looking to adopt sapphire for the front screen of the next iPhone to be launched in 2014.
The most likely reason for a sapphire home button would be to add the Touch ID fingerprint sensor to the iPad, while a sapphire screen for the iPhone, while likely being an extremely expensive part, would make the screen virtually immune to scratching.
A redesigned iPad and Retina iPad mini are expected to launch next month.