Apple's Initial Sapphire Production to Target iWatch, Not iPhone 6?

Discussion in ' News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Feb 11, 2014.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    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.
    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?
  2. musika macrumors 65816


    Sep 2, 2010
    New York
    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.
  3. cmChimera macrumors 68040


    Feb 12, 2010
  4. Tankmaze macrumors 68000


    Mar 7, 2012
    of course its for the watch. ;)
    probably making the screen for the iphone would be expensive ? idk.

    edit :
    yup, it makes it expensive. bummer.
  5. sulpfiction macrumors 68030


    Aug 16, 2011
    Philadelphia Area
    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.
  6. Rogifan macrumors P6


    Nov 14, 2011
    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?
  7. 2bikes macrumors 6502

    Mar 9, 2012
    iWatch.... iPhone... iWatch... iPhone...

    Reading about this sapphire production is like watching table tennis!
    (Or tiny tennis as Arnold puts it!)
  8. Sir Ruben macrumors 65816

    Sir Ruben

    Jul 3, 2010
    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 ;)
  9. ahlsn macrumors member

    Sep 1, 2013
    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.
  10. iapplelove macrumors 68030


    Nov 22, 2011
    East Coast USA
    at first i was like iwatch blaa...but now i find myself slowly wanting one i'm like one good commercial away.
  11. johncho1234 macrumors newbie

    Feb 11, 2014
    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.
  12. RGC1981 macrumors member

    Sep 6, 2012
    San Francisco, CA
    Agree about the iwatch. I too am getting excited.
  13. taptic macrumors 65816


    Dec 5, 2012
    Makes sense. A watch gets hit and scraped on so many things, you'd want it as strong as possible...
  14. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

    Mar 10, 2009
    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.
  15. 2bikes macrumors 6502

    Mar 9, 2012
    It has an aluminium bezel and a tapered edge? Tell us more :p
  16. macrumors 6502a

    Nov 10, 2006
    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.
  17. Shayanftw macrumors member

    Feb 11, 2014
    iPhone 6

    6 months later...

    iPhone 6s - s for sapphire
  18. Four oF NINE macrumors 68000

    Four oF NINE

    Sep 28, 2011
    Hell's Kitchen
    iPhone 6S (Sapphire)

    It's too compelling to pass on. I'd love a scratch proof screen, and no, GG is not scratch proof.
  19. sixrom macrumors 6502a

    Nov 13, 2013
    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.
  20. MikhailT macrumors 601

    Nov 12, 2007
    Because it is higher at scratch resistance?

    The current Gorilla screen is also brittle, they both will likely to break when dropped.
  21. bsolar macrumors 6502a

    Jun 20, 2011
    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.
  22. DipDog3 macrumors 65816


    Sep 20, 2002
    If I was making stuff up about Apple's plans, I would have said the same thing.

    These insiders know nothing!
  23. 69Mustang macrumors 601


    Jan 7, 2014
    In between a rock and a hard place
    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.
  24. Elbon macrumors 6502a


    Jan 9, 2008
    Boston, MA
    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.
  25. Jsameds macrumors 68030

    Apr 22, 2008
    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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