Investment firm J.P. Morgan told investors on Monday that while Apple’s investments in sapphire may someday allow the company to use it as a cover for displays, the material is unlikely to appear in this year’s iPhones due to the prohibitive costs in manufacturing the material in large quantities.
Analyst Rod Hall issued a note to investors, a copy of which was provided to AppleInsider, in which he reacted to a report from last week suggesting that sapphire display costs remain high. The source of that rumor was The Wall Street Journal, which made highly questionable claims that suggested Apple remains undecided about whether to use sapphire displays on its next iPhone, which is expected to be unveiled on Sept. 9.
While noting that Apple’s sapphire glass manufacturing partner GT Advanced Technologies has acquired Twin Creeks – a company that uses a wafering process that could help reduce the costs in manufacturing a sapphire screen cover – Hall said that at the moment, producing sapphire glass runs about 10X the cost of using competitor Corning’s Gorilla Glass.
Hall believes that while it is possible Apple may use the sapphire material for screens in its high-end models of the iPhone 6 – which The Wall Street Journal had suggested it might do – he doesn’t expect that to happen in 2014.
Apple already uses the ultra-hard sapphire glass to protect the camera lens on current iPhone models, as well as the Touch ID fingerprint sensor on the iPhone 5s.
We’ll soon know Apple’s plans for their next-generation device, as Apple is expected to debut its new flagship handset(s) on September 9th, with a launch expected soon after. In addition to larger screens, the devices are expected to boast a faster A8 processor, improved cameras, and better battery life.