Uncertainty Over Apple's Sapphire Plans for iPhone 6 Remains as Analyst Estimates Vary Widely

iphone_6_front_panel_weiboDebate among analysts over just how widespread Apple's use of sapphire displays will be in the iPhone 6 continues to rage, with The Korea Herald reporting on a new research note from NPD DisplaySearch Korea's Brian Huh putting Apple's sapphire display capacity at 45 million units for the iPhone 6 launch. With the iPhone 6 predicted to launch in an initial batch nearing 70 million units, Apple would not be able to use sapphire across the entire lineup.

“Apple’s sapphire material supplier, GT Advanced Technologies, appears capable of producing the glass for around 45 million smartphones. Still, only the iPhone 6’s most premium models may adopt it due to its high cost and a possible supply (set aside) for the iWatch,” said Brian Huh, a senior analyst at NPD DisplaySearch Korea, at its touch conference in Seoul.

He said the 64GB version of either the 5.5-inch or 4.7-inch model is likely to adopt the glass. The iPhone 6 will reportedly come in 32GB and 64GB models.

Separately, Huh also believes Apple will eventually use sapphire for its laptop displays, although manufacturing complexities and costs at those sizes would be challenging for Apple.

Huh is certainly not the first to suggest that sapphire may be limited to high-end iPhone 6 models, with previous reports from Taiwanese media and KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo making similar claims.

A second research report from JPMorgan publicized by Taipei Times (via GforGames) claims Apple's sapphire display production may only be around 10 million units through the end of the year.

“Sapphire covers will also be restricted to high-end iPhones, possibly the 128GB [gigabyte] ones,” the brokerage said in the report. [...]

“Due to various challenges related to the new cover material, we believe the production output for sapphire covers will be low,” JPMorgan analysts said. “Sapphire ingot yield rates could be as low as below 50 percent for this size, and finished sapphire smartphone covers may cost as much as US$40 to US$45 versus below US$10 for finished Gorilla glass.”

In line with another recent report, JPMorgan also believes even the iWatch may see sapphire limited to certain models.

On the flip side, one of the staunchest advocates claiming Apple will be able to launch sapphire displays throughout the iPhone 6 lineup has been Matt Margolis, who has been digging deeply into regulatory and import filings related to the sapphire plant in Arizona being run by Apple and GT Advanced Technologies. Margolis early this year pegged Apple's sapphire display capacity in excess of 100 million units per year, and perhaps as high as 200 million units, with the facility in operation since very early this year.

Margolis reiterated those predications just last month, noting that the plant 2,500 furnaces on hand to handle larger sapphire boules that would give Apple plenty of capacity to cover all models of the iPhone 6 as well as the rumored iWatch.

Related Forum: iPhone

Top Rated Comments

DavidBlack Avatar
95 months ago
Off topic: I need a 128 GB iPhone ;)
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
BigHonkingDeal Avatar
95 months ago
Sounds like a bunch of BS to me.....

I predict NO Sapphire on iPhones this year and NO 5.5" model either. Just like every year Apple will deliver the minimum upgrades they can get away with.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
lowercaseperson Avatar
95 months ago
Seems unlikely to me - such dramatic fracturing of iPhone models (especially WITHIN the size variations) does not really fit the Apple marketing norm. Having two different size iPhone available is a huge divergence - adding different subdivisions within sizes seems like a big jump to me. Just my 2 cents.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Brucewaynnee Avatar
95 months ago
3GS=speed
4s=Siri
5s=security
6s=sapphire display
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
macduke Avatar
95 months ago
I hope the Sapphire isn't premium, but if it is, at least make it available on both sizes Apple. I'm willing to pay for quality products, but not willing to compromise with a massive screen.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
eagle33199 Avatar
95 months ago
Sapphire for laptop displays? I think Huh needs to have his head checked... that just seems like an extravagant waste of money. Laptop displays don;t have nearly the exposure or risk of scratching as phones or watches. You don't put a laptop into a bag with the screen out so it can get scratched by your keys!
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Related Stories

studio buds family

Beats Studio Buds Debuting Today With Active Noise Cancellation, Stemless Design, and More for $150

Monday June 14, 2021 8:00 am PDT by
We've seen a lot of teasers about the Beats Studio Buds over the past month since they first showed up in Apple's beta software updates, and today they're finally official. The Beats Studio Buds are available to order today in red, white, and black ahead of a June 24 ship date, and they're priced at $149.99. The Studio Buds are the first Beats-branded earbuds to truly compete with AirPods...
YouTube Picture in Picture Feature

YouTube Premium Subscribers Can Now Use iOS Picture-in-Picture: Here's How

Wednesday August 25, 2021 3:55 am PDT by
Google has rolled out picture-in-picture support as an "experimental" feature for YouTube premium subscribers, allowing them to watch video in a small window when the app is closed. If you're a premium YouTube subscriber looking to try out picture-in-picture, follow these steps: Launch a web browser and sign into your YouTube account at YouTube.com. Navigate to www.youtube.com/new. Scroll...
gradiente iphone white

Brazilian Electronics Company Revives Long-Running iPhone Trademark Dispute

Tuesday May 19, 2020 1:06 pm PDT by
Apple has been involved in a long-running iPhone trademark dispute in Brazil, which was revived today by IGB Electronica, a Brazilian consumer electronics company that originally registered the "iPhone" name in 2000. IGB Electronica fought a multi-year battle with Apple in an attempt to get exclusive rights to the "iPhone" trademark, but ultimately lost, and now the case has been brought to...
youtube apple tv

YouTube Discontinuing 3rd-Generation Apple TV App, AirPlay Still Available

Wednesday February 3, 2021 3:09 pm PST by
YouTube is planning to stop supporting its YouTube app on the third-generation Apple TV models, where YouTube has long been available as a channel option. A 9to5Mac reader received a message about the upcoming app discontinuation, which is set to take place in March.Starting early March, the YouTube app will no longer be available on Apple TV (3rd generation). You can still watch YouTube on...
ryanscoolios13thumbnail

Apple Releases iOS 13.1.3 With Bug Fixes for Phone, Mail, Health, and More

Tuesday October 15, 2019 10:09 am PDT by
Apple today released iOS 13.1.3 and iPadOS 13.1.3, minor updates to the iOS 13.1.2 software that was released two weeks ago. This is the fourth update to the iOS 13 operating system that came out in September. The iOS and iPadOS 13.1.3 updates are available on all eligible devices over-the-air in the Settings app. To access the updates, go to Settings > General > Software Update....
bluetti eb70 main

MacRumors Giveaway: Win a Bluetti EB70 Portable Power Station and 200W Solar Panel

Friday September 3, 2021 11:13 am PDT by
For this week's giveaway, we've teamed up with MAXOAK to offer MacRumors readers a chance to win a Bluetti portable power station and an accompanying solar panel. Bluetti makes a range of portable power station options that are useful for camping, emergencies, power outages, off-grid living, and similar situations. The Bluetti EB70 is a solid middle of the road option that offers 716Wh and...
M1X MBP Feature

Leaker: Upcoming MacBook Pro to See Price Hike Over Current Model, Equal Performance Across 14 and 16-Inch Sizes

Tuesday August 24, 2021 5:28 am PDT by
The upcoming 14-inch MacBook Pro is set to be more expensive than the current 13-inch MacBook Pro and both the 14 and 16-inch models will offer the same performance, according to the leaker known as "Dylandkt." The leaker shared the information on Twitter, explaining that both of the upcoming MacBook Pro models, expected to come in 14 and 16-inch sizes, will feature the same performance due...
iphone 13 teal with text

Apple Expecting iPhone and iPad Supply Constraints in September Quarter

Tuesday July 27, 2021 2:34 pm PDT by
During today's earnings call covering the third fiscal quarter of 2021 (second calendar quarter), Apple CFO Luca Maesteri said that Apple is expecting supply constraints to affect the iPhone and the iPad in the coming quarter. "The supply constraints that we've seen in the June quarter will be higher in the September quarter," said Maestri. The constraints will impact iPhone and iPad sales...
os x mountain lion macs 16x9 2

Apple Makes OS X Lion and Mountain Lion Free to Download

Wednesday June 30, 2021 12:19 pm PDT by
Apple recently dropped the $19.99 fee for OS X Lion and Mountain Lion, making the older Mac updates free to download, reports Macworld. Apple has kept OS X 10.7 Lion and OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion available for customers who have machines limited to the older software, but until recently, Apple was charging $19.99 to get download codes for the updates. As of last week, these updates no...
maxresdefault

Craig Federighi and Greg Joswiak Discuss iPadOS 15, macOS Monterey, Privacy, Shortcuts on Mac, and More

Saturday June 12, 2021 6:12 am PDT by
As is tradition, Apple executives Craig Federighi and Greg Joswiak joined Daring Fireball's John Gruber in an episode of The Talk Show to discuss several announcements that Apple made over this weeks WWDC, including iPadOS 15, macOS Monterey, and a large focus around privacy. Federighi kicks off the conversation discussing the common architecture, now thanks to Apple silicon, across all of...