A new report from Asia claims that Apple will indeed use sapphire glass covers for some of its iPhone 6 models, but that the sapphire iPhone 6 will be a rarity this year. Digitimes says that GT Advanced Technologies, Apple’s sapphire-making partner, will not reach full capacity in 2014 and adds that sapphire screen covers will be extremely expensive this year.
The publication expects GTAT to only mass-produce enough sapphire crystal for 1.35 million to 2.25 million 5.5-inch iPhone 6 units this year, suggesting that only Apple’s upcoming phablet, or at least a version of it, may receive such durable display panels. Various reports claim that Apple is making as many as 80 million combined iPhone 6 units this year.
However, GTAT is expected to ship large volumes of sapphire glass in the first quarter of 2015.
Digitimes adds that a single sapphire screen cover can cost as much as $100, or significantly more expensive than reinforced glass covers priced at around $5 to $10 per unit.
Recent reports have revealed that the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 will launch later than the 4.7-inch version and will sport certain differentiating features (aside from the larger screen) that will make it stand out. A sapphire display cover may be one of those features, in addition to optical image stabilization for the main camera and more storage that will help convince buyers to get the presumably more expensive 5.5-inch model rather than the 4.7-inch one.
Apple is expected to unveil the iPhone 6 on September 9 and launch the 4.7-inch model in the weeks following the event.