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Old Feb 11, 2014, 10:30 AM   #1
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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.

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.
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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.

Article Link: Apple's Initial Sapphire Production to Target iWatch, Not iPhone 6?
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Old Feb 11, 2014, 10:31 AM   #2
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Makes sense. It's a smaller panel, so they can afford to do it, and it's on a product that could very easily see wear from day-to-day use.
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Old Feb 11, 2014, 10:38 AM   #3
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It's for both of them.
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Old Feb 11, 2014, 10:41 AM   #4
Tankmaze
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of course its for the watch.
probably making the screen for the iphone would be expensive ? idk.

edit :
Quote:
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.
yup, it makes it expensive. bummer.
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Old Feb 11, 2014, 10:41 AM   #5
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It seems totally logical to me. Putting it on the watch 1st gives them chance to work out any kinks, and get the plant fully operational. It'll be one of the "features" of the 6S.

On a side note, I can't wait to see this watch.
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Old Feb 11, 2014, 10:45 AM   #6
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I keep hearing that sapphire is very scratch resistant but also brittle. If that's the case why would Apple want to use it for a phone display?
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Old Feb 11, 2014, 10:46 AM   #7
2bikes
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iWatch.... iPhone... iWatch... iPhone...

Reading about this sapphire production is like watching table tennis!
(Or tiny tennis as Arnold puts it!)
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Old Feb 11, 2014, 10:48 AM   #8
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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
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Old Feb 11, 2014, 10:53 AM   #9
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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.
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Old Feb 11, 2014, 10:55 AM   #10
iapplelove
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at first i was like iwatch blaa...but now i find myself slowly wanting one i'm like one good commercial away.
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Old Feb 11, 2014, 10:59 AM   #11
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Don't they need the sapphire for ID on the new ipads also? I would think whatever new ipads come out this year will have ID.
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Old Feb 11, 2014, 11:00 AM   #12
RGC1981
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Agree about the iwatch. I too am getting excited.
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Old Feb 11, 2014, 11:01 AM   #13
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Makes sense. A watch gets hit and scraped on so many things, you'd want it as strong as possible...
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Old Feb 11, 2014, 11:02 AM   #14
deconstruct60
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MacRumors View Post
...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.
Depends upon how many iWatch they intend to sell. 150 million 4.5" displays is going to soak up about as much glass as 300 million 2.25" displays.

The iWatch should cost less than than an iPhone. So the demand can easily be higher. [ no celluar contract needed and a large installed base of watchless iPhones out there. If make watch that can work with others (e.g., iPod working with Windows) even bigger installed base of potential users. ]

Is the iWatch a gimmick accessory product or is it going to be a real product on its own (with its own substantive unit volumes to match) ? If the latter they could soak up the production with the iWatch and maybe some Cadillac higher priced iPhone. Sapphire glass on every single iPhone is extremely unlikely.
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Old Feb 11, 2014, 11:03 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sir Ruben View Post
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
It has an aluminium bezel and a tapered edge? Tell us more
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Old Feb 11, 2014, 11:03 AM   #16
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They could probably add it to the iPhone incrementally. First it was the camera lens, then Touch ID, and perhaps the next iPhone, if Apple keeps to their pattern of using some glass at the back, will have sapphire replace the glass panels at the back, and the display/front panel which is the most expensive/difficult to produce in volume will be last. The glass panels in the back may be more prone to scratching anyways given their position although of course they're less important aesthetically.
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Old Feb 11, 2014, 11:04 AM   #17
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iPhone 6

6 months later...

iPhone 6s - s for sapphire
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Old Feb 11, 2014, 11:05 AM   #18
Four oF NINE
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iPhone 6S (Sapphire)

It's too compelling to pass on. I'd love a scratch proof screen, and no, GG is not scratch proof.
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Old Feb 11, 2014, 11:08 AM   #19
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The cost factor gives Apple a good excuse to keep the tiny screen size the same for iPhone. Thrilling the throngs of followers obsessed with keeping it the same. Not to mention the distinction of being the tiniest phone on the market. The strength will insure that bending is a thing of the past, even if stuffed into skinny jeans and sat on. A win/win for that demographic.
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Old Feb 11, 2014, 11:10 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post
I keep hearing that sapphire is very scratch resistant but also brittle. If that's the case why would Apple want to use it for a phone display?
Because it is higher at scratch resistance?

The current Gorilla screen is also brittle, they both will likely to break when dropped.
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Old Feb 11, 2014, 11:10 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sir Ruben View Post
SO, sapphire sounds good to me, then again I'll probably scuff the aluminium bezel or its high shine tapered edge instead
If they really want to go with the best materials they should not use aluminium. The best choice for a high-end watch is titanium: incredibly resistant, very light and hypoallergenic.
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Old Feb 11, 2014, 11:11 AM   #22
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If I was making stuff up about Apple's plans, I would have said the same thing.

These insiders know nothing!
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Old Feb 11, 2014, 11:12 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post
I keep hearing that sapphire is very scratch resistant but also brittle. If that's the case why would Apple want to use it for a phone display?
GT Advance makes several formulas of their sapphire glass. My best guess? Sapphire/Silicon laminate to get the best of both worlds. This makes the most sense to me as GT Advance acquired the assets of Twin Creek; specifically their ion cannon technology (Hyperion).

On topic: Did anyone actually think Apple would debut the larger scale production of sapphire glass on their flagship? As others have stated. A watch allows Apple to work out any unforeseen issues without disruption of their main business.
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Old Feb 11, 2014, 11:13 AM   #24
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I assumed it was for this. A watch face is a much smaller surface, so production costs shouldn't be as high as they would be for a sapphire-based phone. Also, watches arguably need to be more scratch-resistant than a phone, which is typically carried around in a purse or pocket.
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Old Feb 11, 2014, 11:13 AM   #25
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iPhone 6 - Form factor change
iPhone 6S - Same form as 6 but tougher

iPhone 7 - Form factor change, same toughness as 6S
iPhone 7S - Same form as 7 but ???? (My money is on waterproof)


Along with all the usual spec bumps and extra hardware features etc.
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