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If Apple's 'iPhone 6' uses sapphire display, it will be limited to new, more expensive premium...

post #1 of 41
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Less than a month before its expected debut, Apple is apparently "considering" the use of synthetic sapphire displays on its next-generation iPhone, but the costs and difficulties associated with the material would limit it solely to a new range of higher-end and more expensive models that the company might make available, a new rumor claims.

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The details on Apple's alleged plans were reported on Thursday by The Wall Street Journal, which cited its usual unnamed "people familiar with the matter." Those sources suggested that the sapphire screens might appear on variants of both the 4.7- and 5.5-inch versions of the "iPhone 6," but sapphire-covered models will be more expensive and rare.

If true, that would be a significant change for Apple, which has offered some variety in terms of color and internal capacity on previous iPhones, but has not gone as far as to charge a premium for new materials in the same model.

Author Daisuke Wakabayashi hedged his bets, however, adding that the plans would only take place if Apple "can get enough of the material." Such qualifiers seem suspect with a media event to unveil the "iPhone 6" expected to take place on Sept. 9.

The report estimates that a sapphire iPhone screen would cost $16 to produce, compared with a cost of just around $3 for the Corning Gorilla Glass the company currently uses on its entire iPhone lineup.

Apple is said to be considering all-sapphire front panels for the iPhone because of the material's resistance to scratches and cracks. Detractors, such as Corning, contest that sapphire in larger quantities is prone to shattering, and also makes displays harder to view in sunlight.

Mesa
Apple-GT Advanced sapphire manufacturing plant in Arizona.


Apple currently uses sapphire in limited quantities: It protects the Touch ID fingerprint sensor found beneath the iPhone 5s home button, and it is also used to prevent scratches atop the camera lens found in its iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c lineups. But costs associated with producing it in larger quantities, such as for a full iPhone display, have led some to speculate that a sapphire screen may not be in the cards for this year's iPhone lineup.

More consistently, it has been rumored that Apple is planning to introduce two new iPhone models this year with screen sizes of 4.7 inches and 5.5 inches. Both are expected to be a complete redesign from the current iPhone 5s.

Speculation about sapphire in the next iPhone has persisted thanks to a $578 million deal Apple struck with furnace maker GT Advanced Technologies. The deal allows the companies to finance and jointly operate a Phoenix facility that will produce sapphire crystal material.

Apple fans hoping for a sapphire front panel should consider the company's exclusive arrangement with Liquidmetal, which has existed since 2010, but has yet to appear in any of the company's products in a significant way. To date, the only known use of Liquidmetal was in a SIM ejector tool that shipped with the iPhone 3GS.
post #2 of 41

These aren’t the kind of ideas that should make it out of discussion.

 

I assume that there’s some sort of think-tank going on at whatever rumor such and such where the analysts get together, read everything that has been given them, and then ignore it all and make up their own crap. That’s all well and good, but in the process of making up their own crap, they don’t seem to have given any thought to filtering out what ideas are substantial enough to be worth an article and what ideas exist for the sole purpose of being the spark for other ideas.

 

They seem to think that it’s acceptable to pose any idea as an endgame for any situation, and then write about it as though it’s fact.

 

For example, the original thought was that sapphire would be used as screening for the entire iPhone lineup (back when we thought there was a bigger iPhone). Next we heard that yield was low (which we always hear), and that statement in and of itself is in no way an endgame. It’s not article-worthy, but serves the next idea: “maybe sapphire will only be on the high-end model”. The one we now figure doesn’t exist. Therefore this article is also just an extension of the original yield spark idea: if yields are low and there’s no large iPhone, Apple could possibly be splitting up their line and making “premium” phones that are sapphire and “regular” phones that aren’t.

 

Which, of course, leads us to the conclusion that this is idiotic because the only thing even remotely like this* that Apple has ever done is the third generation iPod shuffle which got a higher-priced stainless steel model (that I always thought was really pretty). But since Apple is doing its best to forget that the third generation iPod shuffle ever existed, does it really make sense to do this 1. at all 2. simply because of yield issues? Apple tends to WAIT until yields are better before releasing a product rather than splitting a line, yeah?

 

*You could maybe consider the U2 iPod, too.

post #3 of 41

I thought I heard of this rumor....last month, WSJ. This's why I cancelled WSJ subsription.

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post #4 of 41

5.5 will  have sapphire and cost $750-$950

so obvious

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post #5 of 41
God AI is as bad as MacRumors. NO WHERE in the article does it say Apple is thinking of charging more for sapphire display. It's WALL STREET ANALYSTS who are quoted as saying Apple COULD charge more if sapphire is more expensive to manufacture.

IF sapphire is coming to iPhones and IF supply is limited as Apple ramps up I could see them adding it to the most expensive model. But I don't think they'd be so dumb as to only offer it on one screen size. They did away with that nonsense with iPads. Adding it back to iPhones, well you'd have to question Cook's sanity.
post #6 of 41
Some things to consider.

The first is that we don't know what the cost will be. That $16 is just a guess. What that guess is based upon, I don't know. But remember that both GT and Apple have stated that both the new design, very large sapphire boule ovens GT designed , as well as new manufacturing that both Apple and GT have come up with, some of which have been patented by Apple, and some possibly by GT, will dramatically lower the cost of both growing the crystals and the manufacturing of the covers.

How much will the costs be reduced by? We don't know, we just know that it's been claimed to be significant.

So what will the cost of a sapphire cover cost Apple? We don't know! $16? $12? $8? $5?

The limits to certain models may have everything to do with availability than price. GT just announced that they were beginning major production ramp-up. This isn't a full ramp up, but a big beginning to that. So initial startup costs will be higher than long term running costs. Normal!

It would make sense for Apple to use these on higher priced models at first. They make bigger profits on models with more storage, so that would be a good place to begin.
post #7 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post

God AI is as bad as MacRumors. NO WHERE in the article does it say Apple is thinking of charging more for sapphire display. It's WALL STREET ANALYSTS who are quoted as saying Apple COULD charge more if sapphire is more expensive to manufacture.

IF sapphire is coming to iPhones and IF supply is limited as Apple ramps up I could see them adding it to the most expensive model. But I don't think they'd be so dumb as to only offer it on one screen size. They did away with that nonsense with iPads. Adding it back to iPhones, well you'd have to question Cook's sanity.

You're wrong. WSJ is attributing this rumor to their own sources, not analysts. Direct quote from the article:

 

"Apple is considering using sapphire screens in more-expensive models of the two new, larger iPhones it plans to debut this fall, if it can get enough of the material, people familiar with the matter say. "

post #8 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

Some things to consider.

The first is that we don't know what the cost will be. That $16 is just a guess. What that guess is based upon, I don't know. But remember that both GT and Apple have stated that both the new design, very large sapphire boule ovens GT designed , as well as new manufacturing that both Apple and GT have come up with, some of which have been patented by Apple, and some possibly by GT, will dramatically lower the cost of both growing the crystals and the manufacturing of the covers.

How much will the costs be reduced by? We don't know, we just know that it's been claimed to be significant.

So what will the cost of a sapphire cover cost Apple? We don't know! $16? $12? $8? $5?

The limits to certain models may have everything to do with availability than price. GT just announced that they were beginning major production ramp-up. This isn't a full ramp up, but a big beginning to that. So initial startup costs will be higher than long term running costs. Normal!

It would make sense for Apple to use these on higher priced models at first. They make bigger profits on models with more storage, so that would be a good place to begin.

Well 12 dollar was GT's own goal. At that time that statement was regarded as pretty radical, unrealistic. GT Advanced has been able to reduce costs significantly. So I think it is a good target point.

post #9 of 41
Yet another worthless "guess" by a worthless publication.
post #10 of 41
Personally I doubt sapphire will be in any iPhone. It's for the fabled iwatch.

This is just analysts building up speculation prior to release so they can carry on like henny penny after the real product is eventually released.
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post #11 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by nhughes View Post

You're wrong. WSJ is attributing this rumor to their own sources, not analysts. Direct quote from the article:

"Apple is considering using sapphire screens in more-expensive models of the two new, larger iPhones it plans to debut this fall, if it can get enough of the material, people familiar with the matter say. "
But does that mean limiting sapphire to the most expensive model (e.g. 64GB or 128GB) or actually raising prices (like the Wall Street analysts are speculating)?

I just can't see Apple raising iPhone prices. That would be essentially replacing the one advantage Android had (screen size) with another (price). Is anybody else out there raising smartphone prices right now?
post #12 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post


But does that mean limiting sapphire to the most expensive model (e.g. 64GB or 128GB) or actually raising prices (like the Wall Street analysts are speculating)?

I just can't see Apple raising iPhone prices. That would be essentially replacing the one advantage Android had (screen size) with another (price). Is anybody else out there raising smartphone prices right now?

The way it's worded makes it sound, to me, like the sapphire display would be an optional "upgrade." Kind of like the $50 matte display option Apple used to offer on MacBooks.

 

Frankly I think most of this info sounds bogus, as evidenced by the tone of my report. But I don't have any inside scoop saying the WSJ is definitively wrong, that's just my instinct.

post #13 of 41
The one thing that's fact is that Apple is buying a sh*tload of sapphire. Now, maybe it needs that much sapphire just to put TouchID on every new Apple device, or maybe it needs it to do an "iWatch", or maybe it's making enough to put it on some iPhones. But guess what: The important thing to know is that they're using a lot of it, and are likely to be using a lot more in the future.

For the rest, pretend it's like three weeks before Xmas, and there's something big under the Xmas tree....
post #14 of 41

2 complete models and price points to account for a $12 component delta?

 

I think it would cost them more in managing double the sku's, dealing with inventory, etc, etc.

 

Does not compute.

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post #15 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by lowepg View Post
 

2 complete models and price points to account for a $12 component delta?

 

I think it would cost them more in managing double the sku's, dealing with inventory, etc, etc.

 

Does not compute.


Not necessarily only the raw costs of product, but also the supply since it's a material that is tough to produce - multiplied by millions of units on a very tight time table.

post #16 of 41
I also understand that the unicorn-horn inlay will only be on the "extremely premium" model. Something to do with unicorns being mythical, so the yield is lower than hoped for.
post #17 of 41

The sapphire is not for the screens of iPhones.  It is being prepared for a prismatic overlay of the OLED screen of the Apple TV giving a glasses free 3D image.  It will be available in time for the Thanksgiving football games in 55" only size.  /s

post #18 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chipsy View Post

Well 12 dollar was GT's own goal. At that time that statement was regarded as pretty radical, unrealistic. GT Advanced has been able to reduce costs significantly. So I think it is a good target point.

Even that was just a guess. Once actual manufacturing begins they will be able to judge.

But like so many other things in manufacturing g and product sales and support, that's just one aspect to the cost.

If these screens break less often, and get scratched less often, though I've never met so done who has ever scratched their screen, this will result in lowered costs for Apple.

So far, not a single writer has mentioned that. All of those screens Apple needs to replace cost more than just the cover. I believe Apple bonds the covers to the screens in their phones, but not yet in the iPad.

So when a cover cracks, Apple must replace the entire screen. That costs far more than the cover alone. And there are the costs of the technician replacing the screen.

So if the screen does cost that $12, vs $3 for Gorilla Glass, it might actually lower Apple's costs. Why no one has said this anywhere, I don't know.
post #19 of 41
Sources. They have no sources.

The "source" says Apple is "considering"....so when it never happens, they were still right. Apple only considered it.

Shameful that publications like this are considered by anyone to be reputable at all.
post #20 of 41

This article is BS, if a new iPhone is to be announced in September the 'considering' stage of its' design and build was over long ago.

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post #21 of 41

"If Apple's 'iPhone 6' uses sapphire display, it will be limited to new, more expensive premium…"

 

Aside from the "c's" (and maybe even them, to some budgets)

I wasn't aware Apple made anything but "more expensive premium…"

post #22 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by nhughes View Post
 

You're wrong. WSJ is attributing this rumor to their own sources, not analysts. Direct quote from the article:

 

"Apple is considering using sapphire screens in more-expensive models of the two new, larger iPhones it plans to debut this fall, if it can get enough of the material, people familiar with the matter say. "

 

hmm so rumors cited to that generic phrase have never been in the past? or even often wrong? they have. many times. this quote is more reliable than your own ideas.

post #23 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

 I've never met so done who has ever scratched their screen, this will result in lowered costs for Apple.

youve never seen a scratched screen? thats remarkable. 

post #24 of 41
So anybody else have the attention span to remember, back in the rounded-plastic-back days of the iPhone 3G and 3GS, how everybody was all hot and bothered about the sintered alumina they were going to replace that with? Now it's crystalline alumina. I think alumina is the new unicorn fur.
post #25 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by NolaMacGuy View Post

hmm so rumors cited to that generic phrase have never been in the past? or even often wrong? they have. many times. this quote is more reliable than your own ideas.

I never even remotely suggested that WSJ sources are traditionally accurate. In fact, if you read a few posts later, I very clearly stated that I think the WSJ report is highly suspect.
post #26 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by nhughes View Post
 

You're wrong. WSJ is attributing this rumor to their own sources, not analysts. Direct quote from the article:

 

"Apple is considering using sapphire screens in more-expensive models of the two new, larger iPhones it plans to debut this fall, if it can get enough of the material, people familiar with the matter say. "

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by NolaMacGuy View Post
 

 

hmm so rumors cited to that generic phrase have never been in the past? or even often wrong? they have. many times. this quote is more reliable than your own ideas.

 

 

I believe @nhughes was referring to the WSJ's source, when he said @Rogifan was wrong about the source being analysts.  The WSJ was not attributing their information to analysts (although they were rather vague about what type of source was used for their article).

post #27 of 41

Shut up and go away, you useless, pathetic FUDmonger - Tallest Skil
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post #28 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by hentaiboy View Post
 

 

LOL!

 

This is just like one of those 'scientific' studies done by Big Tobacco companies that 'proved' that smoking is not addictive.

 

Corning is shaking in their boots.

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post #29 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by NolaMacGuy View Post

youve never seen a scratched screen? thats remarkable. 

Not once. And I haven't read of it anywhere either, including reviews where they try to scratch it in any realistic way.
post #30 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by hentaiboy View Post



I do t think this indicates much. Sapphire is used in bullet proof vests and armor. It's also used in bullet proof Windows for millitary vehicles, as an inner liner.
post #31 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2old4fun View Post
 

It will be available in time for the Thanksgiving football games in 55" only size.  /s

 

DAMMIT! I am so tired of waiting for Apple to finally be rumored to be making a BIG television screen! Year after year, the rumors are only 55" when it's so obvious the market is moving towards rumors of bigger units.

 

If Apple isn't going to be rumored to be building at least an 80" TV, I'm gonna have to consider buying into rumors about another brand.

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post #32 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by NolaMacGuy View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

 I've never met so done who has ever scratched their screen, this will result in lowered costs for Apple.

youve never seen a scratched screen? thats remarkable. 

 

Actually, I don't think I have either. I've seen cracked and shattered screens, but never scratched. That's not to say it doesn't happen, I just don't remember ever seeing one.

 

If that means anything (which it may not), it might suggest that smashed screens are a more common problem than scratched ones. *IF* that's true (and it may not be), then Gorilla Glass is probably better than sapphire for iPhone screens since GG has better shatter resistance than sapphire.

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post #33 of 41
My wife has scratched the screen of her iPhone 5 with her rings. Not a normal thing I guess but I have a Zagg protector on it now. I have never scratched a screen so did not think of rings being a problem.
post #34 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lorin Schultz View Post
 

 

Actually, I don't think I have either. I've seen cracked and shattered screens, but never scratched. That's not to say it doesn't happen, I just don't remember ever seeing one.

 

If that means anything (which it may not), it might suggest that smashed screens are a more common problem than scratched ones. *IF* that's true (and it may not be), then Gorilla Glass is probably better than sapphire for iPhone screens since GG has better shatter resistance than sapphire.

 

Scratched screens lead to shattered and cracked screens.

 

Gorilla Glass is regular glass that is wrapped in a scratch resistant film.

When that film is scratched/torn the overall strength of the glass is decreased significantly.

What happens next is shattered and cracked screens.

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post #35 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by sog35 View Post
 

5.5 will  have sapphire and cost $750-$950

so obvious


There you go again. Just saying there will be a 5.5 inch does not mean there will be one -- how about even a fresh rumor?

post #36 of 41
Originally Posted by melgross View Post
Not once. And I haven't read of it anywhere either, including reviews where they try to scratch it in any realistic way.


I have PURPOSELY run my keys over my iPhone’s screen. Nada. Zip. Zilch.

post #37 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by sog35 View Post
 

Scratched screens lead to shattered and cracked screens.

 

The cracked and shattered screens I've seen (including mine) were not the result of scratches. They were caused by impact from dropping the phone or sitting on it. Your post is the first time I've ever heard of scratching leading to cracking.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by sog35 View Post
 

Gorilla Glass is regular glass that is wrapped in a scratch resistant film.

 

No it isn't. It's created through a chemical process that replaces one molecule with another, resulting in a dense surface "layer" that permeates deep into the glass. I say "layer" only because the density is higher at the surface than in the middle, but it's really more like a single layer with progressive density.

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post #38 of 41

I think people are misunderstanding what "hardness" means.

 

If you had a 1mm thick sheet of diamond and stuck it in this ring on ring machine, it would break at even less than the 1mm thick sapphire sheet.

Hardness is measured by scratch resistance, it is not a measure of structural strength.

Adding elasticity to an object can make it stronger but less hard.

 

Gorilla glass will scratch before sapphire glass will but sapphire glass will structurally fail before Gorilla glass because GG is less hard but has a higher structural strength. I don't believe that sapphire will be seen in the 4.7" iPhone released this year but if it makes it to next year's iPhone, it won't be a 100% sapphire sheet, it'll almost certainly be a laminate of either polycarbonate or Gorilla glass as sapphire that size really does need a flexible, strong back to support the hard sapphire front.

post #39 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by sog35 View Post

Scratched screens lead to shattered and cracked screens.

Gorilla Glass is regular glass that is wrapped in a scratch resistant film.
When that film is scratched/torn the overall strength of the glass is decreased significantly.
What happens next is shattered and cracked screens.

As far as I know, that not true. Gorilla glass is a special glass.

Most covers crack because the device lands on a corner. That stress on the corner propagates cracks throughout the entire piece. There's also the difference between a scratch, and a gouge, which is much deeper, and more serious.
post #40 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Evilution View Post

I think people are misunderstanding what "hardness" means.

If you had a 1mm thick sheet of diamond and stuck it in this ring on ring machine, it would break at even less than the 1mm thick sapphire sheet.
Hardness is measured by scratch resistance, it is not a measure of structural strength.
Adding elasticity to an object can make it stronger but less hard.

Gorilla glass will scratch before sapphire glass will but sapphire glass will structurally fail before Gorilla glass because GG is less hard but has a higher structural strength. I don't believe that sapphire will be seen in the 4.7" iPhone released this year but if it makes it to next year's iPhone, it won't be a 100% sapphire sheet, it'll almost certainly be a laminate of either polycarbonate or Gorilla glass as sapphire that size really does need a flexible, strong back to support the hard sapphire front.

There are some myths here. When strength is talked about, what kind? Compressive, tension, sheer, point impact, bending? These are all different.

Hardness doesn't necessarily mean lower strength. You mention diamond. Diamond is very strong, but will shatter if hit hard enough. But, it's used in anvils where extremely high pressure is needed. Diamond resists that pressure better than any other material, up to millions of atmospheres.

As I mentioned earlier, sapphire is used in bullet proof military vests. It's used as a backing plate for windshields in military vehicles, in some instances. It's used for watches. I have two watches with sapphire covers. Despite my knocking them around in my shop, they've never scratched, or cracked. But another watch with a special mineral glass that's tempered, has scratched and broken more than once.

The tests that Corning does to show off gorilla glass, and now sapphire, doesn't duplicate what happens in real world cracked screens. Those are not slowly bent, but are rapidly brought against a hard surface, usually at a corner. I haven't seen Corning do a test like that. I imagine that Apple has tested this to the point that they are satisfied. Why else would they have invested $578 million with GT, plus taken out patents on its manufacture and use?
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