Apple's Initial Sapphire Production to Target iWatch, Not iPhone 6?

Evidence has made clear that Apple is investing heavily in sapphire for its future products with the company working with partner GT Advanced Technologies to start production of the material in a new Arizona plant. Earlier reports suggested the sapphire is likely for the next-generation iPhone, but G 4 Games points to new reports from Asian supply chain sources speaking to MyDrivers [Google Translate] and PCPOP [Google Translate] claiming the iWatch will be the first Apple device to be equipped with the scratch-resistant material.

sapphire_furnaces

Furnaces for sapphire glass production

According to the reports, the biggest factor in using sapphire for the iWatch and not the next iPhone is cost, with the price of sapphire driving up the retail price tag of the iPhone. A price increase could be detrimental to Apple as the iPhone already has a premium price tag.

According to Chinese media sources (which are citing “Taiwan supply chain insiders”), Apple has put a lot of effort into fitting the next iPhone with a sapphire screen. These sources claim that “beta” iPhone units (read: some of the prototypes Apple is currently testing) are already sporting sapphire protected panels, but unfortunately, chances are that they will not make it on the final product.

The problem is not necessarily due to low yield (which still is a problem, at least until Apple’s [Arizona] plant will be fully operational), but mainly because fitting a sapphire screen on the next iPhone would make its price skyrocket.

Fortunately though, the same sources also say that Apple will manage to fit sapphire screens on the rumored iWatch. The smartwatch is said to feature a 2 inch panel, and evidently, the production costs would be much lower.

Though the iWatch would certainly benefit from a sapphire layer to protect its display, the volume of raw material and equipment Apple is purchasing hints at much bigger plans than a 2-inch watch display. Apple allegedly has ordered enough furnaces to manufacture approximately 200 million 5-inch sapphire displays, a volume which would meet the yearly demand for its iPhone product line. In 2013, Apple sold approximately 150 million iPhones worldwide.

Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 6, watchOS 7
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Caution)

Top Rated Comments

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84 months ago
iPhone 6

6 months later...

iPhone 6s - s for sapphire
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
84 months ago
I have always been a watch lover but for some reason every time I get a new watch I manage to catch it on a door frame or a wall! It never seems to happen when Im wearing an old watch. SO, sapphire sounds good to me, then again I'll probably scuff the aluminium bezel or its high shine tapered edge instead ;)
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
84 months ago

News flash sheep like companies. Nobody wants to wear a watch. That's why everyone stopped a long time ago. My guess lots will buy into the fad just like the companies did. But once the honeymoon is over people will just start looking at their phone again to get the time.


I never even realised that I didn't want to wear a watch.
I shall now put my watch in its box and hide it away at the back of a drawer as I've stopped wearing one.
I'll also stay away from Watchuseek. Actually, my wife would probably think that's a good idea. It would stop me spending large amounts of money on watches. That I don't want, apparently.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
84 months ago

Yes, watches are made with sapphire crystal :rolleyes:


Yes. Yes they are.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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84 months ago
Makes sense. A watch gets hit and scraped on so many things, you'd want it as strong as possible...
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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84 months ago
Production costs were estimated to about $25 if i remember right. Will it really be that more expensive? How about sticking with the said focus to build great products.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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