High-end iPhone 6 models expected to use sapphire displays as Apple invests $700 million in synthetic sapphire production

High-end iPhone 6 models expected to use sapphire displays as Apple invests $700 million in synthetic sapphire production
One of the novelties that Apple’s iPhone 6 is most likely going to include is a sapphire display. We heard about this plenty of times before. 

Now, The Wall Street Journal reports that Apple is investing about $700 million to make sure it will have enough sapphire screens for its next generation smartphone. Even so, just as previously rumored, some iPhone 6 models may not use the new (and tough) material.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Apple is planning to use sapphire displays in “more expensive” versions of the two new iPhone models that should debut this September (a 4.7-inch, and a 5.5-inch model). This means that both the 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch iPhone 6 may have cheaper versions with screens that don’t utilize sapphire.

Earlier this year, Apple bought a manufacturing plant in Mesa, Arzona, where one of its partners (GT Advanced Technologies) is expected to start mass-producing synthetic sapphire displays this month. The WSJ quotes an analyst at French research firm Yole Développement, who reportedly said that, at full capacity, Apple’s plant could produce twice as much synthetic sapphire than all of the world’s nearly 100 sapphire manufacturers combined. It’s been estimated that a single sapphire display panel costs around $16 - way higher than a display using Corning’s Gorilla Glass (about $3). This led analysts to believe that Apple may charge extra for its sapphire iPhones. At the same time, the Cupertino company might not beef up prices, as using sapphire will likely lead to fewer broken screens, and less money spent on warranty costs.

Some manufacturers that are significantly smaller than Apple are already offering phones with sapphire displays. Earlier this month, Kyocera launched the Brigadier, a rugged smartphone that’s the first in the US to feature a sapphire screen. But the Brigadier is available only via Verizon Wireless, and it’s a niche device.

Apple could announce the iPhone 6 in early or mid-September - so we'll likely find out all the official details regarding the new handset in about a month. 
 
source: The Wall Street Journal (registration required)

Related phones

iPhone 6
  • Display 4.7" 750 x 1334 pixels
  • Camera 8 MP / 1.2 MP front
  • Processor Apple A8, Dual-core, 1400 MHz
  • Storage 128 GB
  • Battery 1810 mAh(14h 3G talk time)

FEATURED VIDEO

33 Comments

1. ckoch125

Posts: 193; Member since: Oct 29, 2012

Ugh oh, won't be able to talk about fragmentation now. Will be interesting to see if apple has 2 different 4.7 models. I could see this being strictly for their "phablet" iphone

2. neela_akaash

Posts: 1239; Member since: Aug 05, 2014

Hmm.. Two different models. One will be expensive and other will be ridiculously expensive..

14. Finalflash

Posts: 4063; Member since: Jul 23, 2013

Only the phablet will have the sapphire screen otherwise Apple would have to have way too many variables to save the amount of money they want to save. By that I mean they would have to have designed 2 different iPhone 6 SKUs in order for one to have sapphire and the other to have GG. Since sapphire is thicker, lets less light through, and more brittle, it would require a whole different chassis to hold it (most likely). Plus the fact that they are just beginning production means it won't be out until at least december in any product.

24. gregoryyy3 unregistered

Look at samsungs profit margins on the cheap plastic they sell. At least apple you get a more premium device

25. UglyFrank

Posts: 2192; Member since: Jan 23, 2014

You are an idiot, iPhones are cheaper to make than samsung phones.

29. gregoryyy3 unregistered

Clearly you're the idiot. Never said it was cheaper to make.. I'll quote myself again since you clearly cannot read nor comprehend "at least apple you get a more premium device" . Now go be dumb somewhere else cause we're don't talking

34. flamencoguy

Posts: 107; Member since: Aug 04, 2012

Premium is just a marketing ploy to get more money out of you. Consumers should be worrying about profit margins of manufacturers. They should worry about their own pockets.

13. AlikMalix unregistered

Fragmentation comes from hardware and software deficiencies and carrier add-ons that make updating or servicing a headache. Using different materials do not affect unity. But I dont understand one thing.. Apple Haters were crying that there's not options or choices with Apple products - they add one option and you're all screaming foul..

18. Salazzi

Posts: 537; Member since: Feb 17, 2014

just like they were talking about how apples connector was too big and they preferred their "beautiful" micro-usb. Then apple released the lightning connector and they all screamed how Apple was making it, so that everyone would have to buy new accessories and makes tons of $$.

22. AlikMalix unregistered

To be honest, that's not fragmentation either... I do love the new connector it's been 10 years with the 30pin - it was time to improve it, dont you think? I had one speaker dock that had a 30pin which is still used not with an adapter but the way you guys are using it with android (a 3.5 audio jack), everything else has a regular USB and would be used the same way if Apple kept the old 30pin. You guys acting like just because Apple upgraded to lightning port, our idevices no longer connect to cars, computers, external drives, etc. Dont forget, the other side of that cord has a regular USB port. BTW there was never a shortage of speaker docks after the new port... and as far as I know a household buys at least 2 of these a year anyway. I enjoy uncluttered and bi-directional design. It even feels snippy when you plug it in unlike the 30 year old, or so, micro-USB's you guys fiddle with. Remember this post tonight when you're plugging in your phone to charge in the dark...

26. Salazzi

Posts: 537; Member since: Feb 17, 2014

That's exactly what I was saying. First they complain "oh look how behind and bulky the apple charger is!" but then when apple changes it they whine and say it was made to siphon off more money! The idiocy sometimes..

30. iGeek

Posts: 171; Member since: Mar 15, 2013

Dude you are really stupid :P Fragmentation in the tech world is often referred to in a software not in the hardware. But let me clarify things for you dear: All iPhone 6 models will run the same software, so there's no fragmentation here. If you mean by fragmentation different phone version of an operating system, or 2 different phone in hardware of the same size. Then Android is the most fragmented operating system ever. You have thousands of different sizes and hundreds of different versions. Heck, the Galaxy S4 had like 5 to 6 versions alone. So get along with your life and know what you are speaking about.

33. HamzAmin

Posts: 81; Member since: Aug 15, 2014

Basically the WSJ "confirmed" that Apple MAY use sapphire in the more expensive versions of the two iPhone 6 variants and that analysts are in fact saying they MIGHT cost more. So.....what exactly was "confirmed"? I'm telling you right now, we WILL NOT see any price increases. The only price variation will come from the added iPhone "Pro" (5.5") line starting at $299/$749. I still think we could see the price increases go down for each storage bump from $100 to $50. I also don't think we'll see purely sapphire displays. They will utilize a sapphire coated material to retain some of the benefits of sapphire and keep costs down. Even if the BOM increases by $10-$15, Apple's profit margins will still fall in the 60% range. Margins will be similar or slightly higher on the 32 GB and 64 GB models EVEN IF they reduce the cost of the storage bump from $100 to $50. And I'm sure their margins will be even better on the 5.5" version. __________________

3. AfterShock

Posts: 4146; Member since: Nov 02, 2012

So let's see... $16cost × Apple retail = $150-$200 premium give or take. Seems legit.

20. JakeLee

Posts: 1021; Member since: Nov 02, 2013

That's pretty much the standard in the industry : every increase in manufacturing costs nine-folds at the retail price.

21. Arte-8800

Posts: 4562; Member since: Mar 13, 2014

No other company rips thier users of like Apple garbage does.

23. AlikMalix unregistered

What do you mean? You keep making these statements, but it's the same as saying: No other company rips their users of like Samsung, Ford, Ferrari, GE, Comcast, Epson, HTC, Walmart, Shell Gas, You Name it garbage does. See, that was so easy just to blab crap out with out owning up to it..

4. StanleyG88

Posts: 240; Member since: Mar 15, 2012

Well if that's it, they should put Saph on all phones. With a 50% markup that would only add about $20 to each $600-700 phone. Not that much. Of course we will probably see Apples typical 1000% markup for the privilege of owning a "perfect" companies product.

5. moaning_bimbo

Posts: 13; Member since: Jun 20, 2014

If apple ups the iPhone 6 price with saph then they will lose more money than from warrantys cause less people will buy the saph and opt for the reg. apple will be left with tons of iPhones that they won't lower the price and will then have to

6. Bozzor

Posts: 248; Member since: May 02, 2012

The carriers won't like this, as they'll have to subsidize the higher costs for those who go on contract. Still, Apple will be able to get away with a $20-30 increase per handset for outright. It will annoy a few people, but I doubt many will say "Extra $30? Forget it...". Apple has that appeal.

7. YourNickname

Posts: 127; Member since: Aug 14, 2014

You're funny guy. Apple charging 30$ for sapphire version. Gave me a sensible chuckle. For a 16$ piece of technology expect a nice round 160$ premium. Ill be shocked if its between 100$-150$, but that will depend on q4 strength of android devices.

8. AfterShock

Posts: 4146; Member since: Nov 02, 2012

You are bang on that the carriers won't like eating a new cost, but it won't the be the same hit to per piece as a retail unit, they fudge cost an reap on contract for the most part from I have gathered. A good display protector is upwards of $30, Apple sapphire display will be in the stratospheric league of costs. Only thing in common is the words, display.

9. na7noo7

Posts: 278; Member since: Mar 29, 2014

When Apple releases the 128GB 5.5 inch iPhone 6 with Sapphire Display, I would expect it to cost $1,440.

10. stealthd unregistered

Your expectations are ridiculous.

12. YourNickname

Posts: 127; Member since: Aug 14, 2014

Exagerations by definition are ridiculous... BUT... apple math does work out. An upgrade from 16gb to 32gb has been in the past 100$. 32 to 64 is 200$.with that math you can expect 200-400$ for another 64gb, seeing as how only sandisk has 128gb microsds, and needs to make 50million of them... the Sapphire display is already 200$... and a more pixel, bigger screen, more cpu/gpu power, more battery, more aluminum = apple math x 50$. Maybe 800$ for 5.7" no sapphire 16gb iphone. THAT sounds standard for apple. & Thats 800+(200to400)+200=1200 to 1400. his expectation is not that ridiculous.

11. T....

Posts: 18; Member since: Dec 02, 2012

cue the iPhone 6S, S for sapphire (display).

15. DouchebagWendy

Posts: 15; Member since: Aug 14, 2014

Apple rocks full stop :)

19. Arte-8800

Posts: 4562; Member since: Mar 13, 2014

Looks like your Wendygarrett

28. pureviewuser

Posts: 501; Member since: Nov 11, 2012

NIIICE DUAL CORES LOL!!!

17. tedkord

Posts: 17288; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

Waitaminnit! So not just two different sized iPhones, but subcategories of each? DEVICE SPAM!!!!!

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at https://www.parsintl.com/phonearena or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit https://www.parsintl.com/ for samples and additional information.