Apple is expected to introduce new iPhone models this year that will feature, for the first time ever, sapphire glass displays instead of Corning’s Gorilla Glass, but not all reports agree on what iPhone 6 models will have such front panels. Some say Apple would have enough sapphire manufacturing capacity for all iPhone 6 models, while others say that only the bigger 5.5-inch iPhone 6 will have such display covers. According to The Register, industrial analysis firm TrendForce has not observed any proof that actual sapphire display production is underway at Apple’s Arizona factory.
Apparently, the sapphire glass has not been sent to Apple’s manufacturing partners, which would need it for iPhone 6 production.
“The much anticipated sapphire cover glass remains missing from the picture. Analysis of the iPhone 6 supply chain indicates related component suppliers need to ship products to OEMs for assembly in June 2014 to meet the September launch date,” TrendForce wrote.
“Yet, the research institute did not discover demands for smartphone cover glass. The sapphire glass version new iPhone will be issued in limited volumes this year, mostly because sapphire ingot manufacturers yield rates were lower than forecasts and issues involved in sapphire glass processing.”
It’s also not clear whether the iWatch will have sapphire displays, as “further observations” are apparently required.
“Since sapphire glass processing is relatively difficult, it would be problematic to mass produce sapphire watch cover glass,” TrendForce said. “Additionally, sapphire glass processing will become even more strenuous if the wearable device uses flexible OLED panels.”
The company also noticed that limited sapphire demand did not drive up prices, with sapphire ingot, substrate and patterned sapphire substrate (PSS) prices having dropped in July.