Analyst who cried sapphire takes another swing, despite whiffing on iPhone 6 predictions

Posted:
in General Discussion edited September 2014
A financial analyst focused almost exclusively on Apple's relationship with sapphire maker GT Advanced Technologies was supremely confident that the iPhone 6 would feature a sapphire screen cover. That prediction was dead wrong, but it hasn't stopped him from continuing to stand by his sources, and even strangely still hoping for a sapphire-covered iPhone 6.




"The most sought after feature on the iPhone 6 was a sapphire cover screen and Apple needs to deliver a sapphire covered iPhone sooner rather than later," analyst Matt Margolis of PTT Research wrote in a new note on Wednesday, remaining focused on the dream of a sapphire-protected iPhone screen. Citing supply chain sources, he claims that sapphire screen yields were too low for Apple to use in the iPhone 6, and ended up missing the cut by a matter of "weeks."
The iPhone 6 lacks a sapphire cover, and not even all Apple Watch models will feature the material.
Margolis's explanations come after months of claims that GT Advanced Technologies would be producing massive amounts of sapphire for Apple -- enough to create display covers of the hardened material for iPhone 6 units to be sold this year.

The analyst's confident predictions didn't pan out, though. In fact, none of Apple's iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus models feature sapphire screen covers. Apple has said this year's models feature "ion-strengthened" glass.

Not even all Apple Watch models will utilize sapphire covers, with the basic "Sport" lineup featuring "strengthened 'Ion-X' glass."

Though sapphire iPhone hype had built for months, driven in part by Margolis, AppleInsider cautioned back in June that sapphire covers on the new iPhone models seemed unlikely. Sapphire is more expensive than the Gorilla Glass that Apple has used in all iPhone models to date. It's also more difficult to manufacture, and some tests show it's more prone to break and shatter.

Sapphire supporters like Margolis believed and hoped that Apple and GT Advanced may have secretly discovered some sort of breakthrough that would allow Apple to build entire iPhone displays, and even iPads, made of the material this year, all while keeping up with overwhelming consumer demand for those products. They were convinced that sapphire was bound to make a big splash, thanks to a $578 million contract Apple had inked with GT, resulting in scratch-proof covers for the iPhone 6 and beyond.




But the truth is that Apple has already been using sapphire in products for the last year: The iPhone 5s Touch ID home button is protected by the material, and the camera lenses on the back of the iPhone 5c and iPhone 5s both feature sapphire.

This year, the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are expected to be the best selling iPhones yet. And Apple continues to sell the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c, both of which already use sapphire.

And it's also rumored that new iPad models expected to arrive later this year will also feature Touch ID fingerprint sensors with sapphire. In all, Apple could approach or even exceed 100 million iPhone and iPad units this fall, all of which could use sapphire in some form or another.

And starting in early 2015, two of the three styles of Apple Watch will also feature sapphire not only on the cover, but also protecting the heart rate monitor on the back.

In short, Apple's going to need a lot of sapphire.

As of Wednesday, however, Margolis was sticking by his sources. He claims that Apple had planned to use sapphire covers on the iPhone 6 up until "weeks ago," when yield rates remained poor and the material was abruptly abandoned.

He still holds hope that iPhone 6 cover screens will be made of sapphire, even after Apple's announcement. In his latest note, he said GT's output from its Arizona facility is "excessive," and that it will "continue to be grown for iPhone 6 cover screens."

Margolis's apparent transition to the "denial" stage of grief may be explained by his particular affinity for the GT-Apple partnership. His Twitter handle even reflects this: @Sapphirecover24.

To quote the legendary fictional detective Sherlock Holmes: "It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts."
«134

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 66

    Sapphire or not, can’t wait to molest me an iPhone 6 in a store.

    CAN WE PLEASE FIRE THESE ANALYSTS? OR SOMETHING? WHAT IS THE POINT OF A JOB IF YOU DON’T HAVE TO DO IT WELL?

  • Reply 2 of 66
    pmzpmz Posts: 3,433member
    This guy is delusional.

    iPhone 6 Touch ID
    iPhone 6 camera lens
    iPhone 6 Plus Touch ID
    iPhone 6 Plus camera lens
    iPhone 5s Touch ID
    iPhone 5s camera lens
    iPhone 5c camera lens
    iPad Air 2 Touch ID
    iPad Air 2 camera lens
    iPad mini Touch ID
    iPad mini camera lens
    Apple Watch Display
    Apple Watch wrist sensors

    ....all being made of sapphire. Did I miss any? Well worth 500 million.
  • Reply 3 of 66

    I said no sapphire iPhone all along.

     

    Sapphire is great; but it's not all its cracked up to be. 

  • Reply 4 of 66
    malaxmalax Posts: 1,598member

    "Sapphire supporters like Margolis believed and hoped that Apple and GT Advanced may have secretly discovered some sort of breakthrough that would allow Apple to build entire iPhone displays, and even iPads, made of the material this year..."

     

    Wow, entire iPads made of sapphire?  Now that would be cool, although a bit gimmicky like the grey post-Bondi-blue iMac where you easily see all the internals.

  • Reply 5 of 66
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,381member
    I still expect a sapphire cover for a phone at some time, the cover for the watch seems to be thicker than Apple might use for a phone, depending on the design. But they have now invested more than $600 million in ths. It's true that much of that investment will be paid back by GT, but still, for watch covers, and lens and sensor covers, they don't need the production from thousands of the world's largest sapphire furnaces.

    There has to be more to this than watches.
  • Reply 6 of 66
    Apple in 2015 will probably use 3 times sapphire of them in 2014, why would a 5.5 or 4.7 inch screen not account for more then that.
  • Reply 7 of 66

    I was hoping for this as well on all new iPhones and the Appel Watch. 

  • Reply 8 of 66
    That company Apple partnered with -- GT Advanced -- whatever it's name is, has its stock down 14% today. And similar story yesterday. They are getting trounced. Perhaps they are still testing / developing larger panels for use in future iPhones. Or maybe the partnership between the two companies was always only about the lenses / touch ID pieces.
  • Reply 9 of 66
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Richard Getz View Post

     

    I was hoping for this as well on all new iPhones and the Appel Watch. 




    It is on some models of the watch.

  • Reply 10 of 66
    They need something big to sell you up to the 6S next Sept. They'll save the sapphire for that release. The same way they didn't add Touch ID to the iPad Air and Mini last year, but easily could have. They need that for this year to make you upgrade!
  • Reply 11 of 66

    He is trying to save the GT stock, it tanked after the announcement, i guess have the watch with Sapphire was not enough for the market to jump all over it. Well not all the watches come with Sapphine only the more expensive ones so it will not be millions of watches that is for sure.

     

    I think I will be in on GT stock once it falls below $10 it was over priced at $18 when this was all being hyped.

  • Reply 12 of 66

    Wall street need to stop hiring people who do not have technology background to analysis technology companies, these guys fail to understand the technology involved therefore they are destine to fail in their analysis, Wall Street needs to hire Engineers with MBA they understand the money as well as the technology and will not get sucker in like this.

  • Reply 13 of 66
    malaxmalax Posts: 1,598member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Maestro64 View Post

     

    He is trying to save the GT stock, it tanked after the announcement, i guess have the watch with Sapphire was not enough for the market to jump all over it. Well not all the watches come with Sapphine only the more expensive ones so it will not be millions of watches that is for sure.

     

    I think I will be in on GT stock once it falls below $10 it was over priced at $18 when this was all being hyped.


    Actually 2 of the three models/styles using sapphire.  Only the Sport one doesn't.  Maybe that's the low-end one (I don't know), but on the Web site it's positioned as the "middle" model using aluminum instead of steel.  So I assume this was for technical reasons and not cost.

  • Reply 14 of 66
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by BobSchlob View Post

     

    I said no sapphire iPhone all along.

     

    Sapphire is great; but it's not all its cracked up to be. 


    So to speak. :D

  • Reply 15 of 66
    I thought I heard that GT Advanced Technologies was larger than the rest of the sapphire manufacturers [I]combined[/I] ?

    If so... who cares if they aren't making iPhone screen covers... they're clearly doing [I]something[/I] right.
  • Reply 16 of 66
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by malax View Post

     

    Actually 2 of the three models/styles using sapphire.  Only the Sport one doesn't.  Maybe that's the low-end one (I don't know), but on the Web site it's positioned as the "middle" model using aluminum instead of steel.  So I assume this was for technical reasons and not cost.


    They indicate it was for weight savings:

    Quote:


    For Apple Watch, we created a new alloy — 7000 Series aluminum — that’s 60 percent stronger than standard alloys. Yet it’s very light. Together with the Ion-X glass covering the display, it makes the Sport collection watches up to 30 percent lighter than our stainless steel models. It’s also exceptionally pure, with a beautifully consistent appearance that’s difficult to achieve with traditional aluminum alloys.


  • Reply 17 of 66
    They have exclusive agreement with Apple for sapphire
  • Reply 18 of 66
    malaxmalax Posts: 1,598member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by TheUnfetteredMind View Post

     

    They indicate it was for weight savings:


    Thank you.  Apple really does sweat the details.  Every gram matters I guess.

  • Reply 19 of 66
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,107member
    Quote:


     "The most sought after feature on the iPhone 6 was a sapphire cover screen and Apple needs to deliver a sapphire covered iPhone sooner rather than later,"


     

    What a horse-shit statement. "Sough after" by whom, exactly? A few analysts and tech blogs? I don't know a single person in real life who gives a shit what the iPhone screen is made of, nor will the hundreds of millions of people who will end up buying the iPhone 6. These analysts really start getting delusional in their little narcissistic bubbles. 

     

    Apple will make iPhones screens out of Sapphire if that material has significant advantages over the current glass, and insignificant downsides, and if and when the cost of doing so, and manufacturing complexity is non-prohibitive. I haven't seen real evidence that Sapphire at this time would be an obviously better choice than the newest Gorilla Glass or whatever. 

  • Reply 20 of 66
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ttile08 View Post

     



    It is on some models of the watch.


     

    Yes, one the Apple Watch Edition. Not quite the roll-out I was thinking LOL 

     

    edit: sorry, it's on the base Apple Watch also, just not the sport. 

     

    This is still the king of the hill watch in design: 

     

    image

Sign In or Register to comment.